Pedestrians and pilgrims mown down over long weekend as “runaway” cow claims seven victims in Benavente

It has been a terrible weekend for pilgrims, pedestrians and people generally caught in the wrong place at the wrong time

Tragedy struck at various points up and down the country.

Four people, all middle-aged, were killed outright when two of them tried to cross the EN235 at a “prohibited point” in Sangalhos, Anadia on Friday night and were hit by a couple travelling on a motorbike.

Brothers Joaquim and Augusto Ramos, 38 and 47, had been enjoying the Bank Holiday evening in a local café when they decided to take the risky way home.

Metres from a viaduct that would have taken them under the road in safety, the crossing is understood to be used by “everyone, including old people”, and there is even an opening cut through protective netting to allow pedestrians free passage.

The brothers’ German Shepherd Rita, travelling alongside with them, also killed in the collision.

Biker Telmo Silva, 39, was projected 50 metres down the road, while his passenger Paula Outerelo, 45, was thrown into an area of vegetation.

By the time police arrived everyone was dead, although a friend of the brothers claims to have spoken to Augusto as he lay dying.

“Are you all right?” Eduardo Costa asked his friend. “No. Goodbye Costa”, was apparently the reply, before the man died.

Hours later, five pilgrims walking towards Fátima on the IC2 at Cernache (Coimbra) died after a car collided into a group of about 80 religious friends, all from the borough of Mortágua (Viseu), hitting nine of them, at around four o’clock on Saturday morning.

Among the dead was a 17-year-old believed to have been a member of the scouts.

Four of the dead died on the spot, while the 17-year-old died on the way to hospital.

As the road was cut off to traffic in both directions, the injured were ferried to hospital – some in very serious condition.

According to news reports a 23-year-old woman suffered multiple trauma injuries, requiring immediate surgery, while the other “poli-trauma” patients – men aged 71, 64 and 24 – are described as clinically stable.

Calling a three-day stretch of municipal mourning, the local mayor of Mortágua, told reporters it was the worst moment in his 20 years leading the borough, as newspapers reported that the driver of the vehicle that hit the pilgrims is due to appear in court on Monday.

And in Benavente the popular “Semana Taurina” (Bullfighting and Bull-running) festival saw panic, again on Bank Holiday Friday evening, when a runaway cow broke free and careered into “a multitude of around 1000 people”.

The cow is understood to have gored at least one man with her horns, but in total seven people were reported to have suffered injuries, one of them a pregnant woman.
Three of the victims are understood to have required hospital treatment in Vila Franca da Xira.

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