“There was no time to get anything. Smoke was rising, the bus seemed ready to explode”, a tourist from Cape Verde told reporters this afternoon after the bus she was travelling in burst into flames on the A1 motorway approaching Lisbon.
The woman was one of 35 passengers bound for Lisbon airport.
She lost “everything she had bought” on her holiday, but luckily still has her passport, identity documents, money etc.
Others were not so fortunate.
All now likely to have missed their flights, SIC television news describes how ‘nearly every one of them’ has also lost passports and travel documents, as well as personal possessions that were in the ‘hold’: among them computers and medication.
The bus company has assured people that it will cover expenses, but the immediate issues of what will happen as new flights have to be booked has been left unresolved.
The passenger travelling to Cape Verde has explained that in her case, there is no flight until next Tuesday, and she now has nowhere to stay.
The woman boarded the bus in Porto and told SIC she noticed a ‘burning smell’ after a stop at Fátima.
“Perhaps if I had told the driver, this could have been avoided”, she commented.
As it was, when the driver became aware of the ‘technical fault’, the fire was “almost instantaneous”, and everyone was ordered out of the vehicle with no time to collect possessions,
Of the 35 on board, two suffered ‘light injuries’, while most people’s luggage was irreparably damaged.
“It could have been worse”, said SIC’s reporter. “But it has still caused quite a few problems”.
Nationalities involved included Chinese, South Africans and Americans.
Traffic was affected and may remain so for a while longer as emergency teams wind up investigations and remove the bus, which has been “completely burnt”.