six people died and two more were injured after the bus they were traveling in fell from a bridge into a river in the region of Galicia (Northwest of spain).
The accident occurred on Saturday shortly before 9:30 p.m. local time, on a bridge in the municipality of Cerdedo-Cotobadesituated in Galicianear the border with Portugallocal authorities said on Sunday.
Total, eight people were on the buswhich linked the towns of Lugo and Vigo. Among the accident victims, two could be rescued alive: the driver of the vehicle, in his sixties, and a woman.
The others six passengers were found deadaccording to the rescue teams, who posted on Twitter an image of the submerged bus at the bottom of a ravine in a river between tree trunks.
The first two victims were found near the wreckage of the vehicle, a few hours after the accident. The bodies of the other four people were recovered in the Lerez riverwhere the tragedy occurred, according to the Civil Guard.
Until then, the number of missing people was uncertain, as the driver had “doubts” about how many were on the bus at the time of the accident.
The fall of the bus was about 75 meters, and the first alert was from a private individual who saw the protection barrier destroyed, although he leaned out of the bridge and was not able to see anything. Minutes later, a call came from inside the bus itself, detailing what had happened and allowing the start of the rescue operation.
“The rescue teams confirm that all the people who were missing were rescued,” said the Galician Emergency Service on Twitter, specifying that the search device was going to end.
According to Civil Guard, five spanish natives of Galicia are among the deceased, including a mother and her son. The sixth fatality is a woman from Peruvian nacionality who took care of an elderly man in Cerdedo-Cotobade.
Among the passengers on the bus were people visiting family members detained at the Monterroso prisonlocated in the center of Galicia, on the occasion of Christmas Eve, said the regional newspaper The voice of Galicia.
The rescue operations were complicated by the heavy rains that fell during the night, which caused an increase in the flow of the river, where the bus plunged, but also by the relief of the area.
Under the bridge there arequite a large drop” of “thirty meters”, confirmed a spokesman for the Civil Guard. In a statement, the rescuers mentioned that it even reached the 75 meters in certain parts.
These conditions forced the search work to be suspended for several hours and resumed on Sunday morning, with a team that included mountain rescue units, cavers and a helicopter.
The incident “is an unmitigated tragedy,” the mayor of Cerdedo-Cotobade, Jorge Cubelawho highlighted the “professionalism” of the rescuers deployed at the scene of the event.
An investigation was opened to determine the causes of the accident, still unknown. According to the spokesman for the Civil Guard, the bus driver has experience behind the wheel and, moreover, gave negative in the alcohol and drug control.
“We still do not know the causes with certainty”, but “it is true that the weather conditions were very bad yesterday (Saturday) night”, confirmed the president of the Galician community, Alfonso Rueda.
(With information from AFP and EFE)