As thousands of Portuguese make their way ‘home’ for the holidays, the first horrific traffic accident for the peak month of August has claimed the lives of three young children, and left their 35-year-old father fighting to survive in a Spanish hospital.
Also injured in the accident just 30 km from the Portuguese border was a 12-year-old girl, thought to have been a friend of the children – although she is not thought to be so seriously injured.
The accident happened when the car the group were travelling in – an Opel Zafira – collided with a truck carrying tyres near the small town of Cerezal de Aliste shortly before 11am (Spanish time) this morning.
Police have revealed little of the circumstances of the tragedy, but Spanish news agency EFE has carried a heartbreaking report showing the extent of the wreckage scattered across the 122 national highway.
As a result of the crash, the truck burst into flames which then set fire to a section of land alongside the road.
The children – two boys and a girl aged four, eight and 12 – are thought to have died on impact.
Talking to EFE journalists, governor of the autonomous community of Castile e León Maria Jose Salgueiro urged drivers to take “maximum precaution at the wheel”.
“This is a terribly sad day”, she said. “All accidents are horrible but this one, involving small children, is absolutely horrific”.
As the report on EFE explained the 122 is an habitual route taken by Portuguese emigrants in France as they make the long return ‘home’ for August summer holidays.
EFE added that the driver of the truck escaped unharmed though he has had to be treated for shock.
Interned in nearby Virgen de la Concha hospital, the prognosis for the dead children’s father is said to be “very serious”.
PHOTO CREDITS: Agencia EFE