Three dead, nine seriously injured and eight others requiring hospital treatment. This was the balance of the second horrific bus crash in two days – again involving a vehicle owned by the Barraqueiro transport group.
As the Algarve was still in shock over the deaths of four Dutch tourists following a bus crash on the A22 near Albufeira on Wednesday night, a second bus careered off the A2 near Almodôvar in the Alentejo shortly having left Lagos in the Algarve with 30 passengers bound for Lisbon.
According to Diário de Notícias, the Renex bus came off the motorway at 6.35 pm last night,“travelled some 100 metres on a dirt road “ and then plunged into a ravine, crashing onto its side.
“With the impact of the fall, some of the passengers were projected”.
Three died immediately, with one of the fatalities recovered from underneath the vehicle.
INEM rescue services and firemen raced to the scene, setting up a temporary medical facility to treat the wounded who were variously transported – six to Beja hospital, three to Faro, two to the health unit in Albufeira and six to the casualty post in nearby Castro Verde, reports DN.
Other newspapers picking up the story last night reported that none of the wounded are thought to have life-threatening injuries.
Two transported by ambulance to Faro (a 53-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy) were both described in the early hours of this morning by Correio da Manhã as “stable”.
They arrived at Faro at 9.45pm as rescue services were still busy at the scene, and the bus was still on its side.
According to reports, nationalities flagged so far are Portuguese and one Pakistani.
The ages of the wounded range from 17 to 78.
The dead were reported to be two women aged 40 and 50, and a 50-year-old man, but their nationalities at time of writing had not been confirmed – nor was it clear whether any other nationalities or tourists were involved.
Describing the scene, DN said it was littered with “wreckage: packets of biscuits, bags of shopping, loose seats from the bus and other objects”.
Renex, like the Frota Azul carrier whose bus was involved in Wednesday’s tragedy, is owned by transport group Barraqueiro, which is understood to be still compiling its report on the Algarve crash two days ago.
Lusa news agency quoted GNR lieutenant-colonel João Nunes saying initial blood tests performed on the wounded driver showed “no signs of alcohol or any substances” present in his system.
The accident saw the A2 closed to all traffic, with the section where it happened cordoned off for the best part of six hours.
An INEM helicopter stationed in Loulé, Algarve, was called to the scene and, as with the accident on Wednesday near Paderne, used the motorway as a landing pad.
The GNR is still investigating the causes of this latest crash, wrote DN in the early hours of this morning, thus it is too early to suggest what may have caused it.
Giving a run-down of the emergency teams involved, the paper listed 72 firemen from various local stations with 11 BV ambulances and 26 Civil Protection operational vehicles.
More deaths on Portugal’s roads
According to Portugal’s road safety authority (ANSR), road deaths to June 15 this year have numbered 212, which is 24 more than the same period last year.
Combining data from the PSP and GNR police, 2015 has also been a black year for road accidents, with 53,461 recorded (2,206 more than for the same period last year).
Just in this second fated week of June, there were six road deaths, with a seventh victim – from the crash on the A22 – dying in hospital on Friday.
Expresso taking up the story commented that this is “the second accident involving a bus operated by Renex in less than six months”.
“On April 30, Renex was involved in another accident, with eight injured and one dead in the Algarve”, the paper continued.
Ironically, the bus was Frota-Azul owned but in the service of Renex when the accident happened.
In this case, the cause of the crash was attributed to the sudden death of the driver.