February 3, 2023

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Spain: At least four dead after bus plunges into river

Two people were rescued. A couple of people are still missing.

LFour people died and one or two were missing after a spectacular bus plunged off a bridge into a river in northwestern Spain, with rescuers working hard to find survivors on Sunday.

According to local authorities, at least four people died in the accident, which occurred shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the town of Cerdeto-Cotobate, located in Galicia, near the border between Spain and Portugal, on Christmas Eve.

The first two victims were found overnight near the wreckage of the bus from Saturday to Sunday, and two others were rescued alive, including the driver of the vehicle, who was hospitalized.

The other two bodies were found by emergency services on Sunday morning. One of them could be rescued, while the second person, who was found dead, had not yet been rescued as of Sunday afternoon, a spokesman for the Civil Guard said.

According to this speaker, one to two people are still missing. He told AFP that “the number is not yet accurate” as the driver had “doubts” about the number of people on the bus at the time of the accident.

According to authorities, the four dead include a young Peruvian woman who worked for an elderly man in Galicia, and three Spanish nationals living in the area.

What happened ?

According to the rescue services, which posted an impressive photo on Twitter of the wreckage, which fell to the bottom of a ravine in a stream running between tree trunks, the accident took place in a difficult place. Access complicates recovery operations.

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There is a “very significant drop” in the line “thirty meters” under the bridge, a Civil Guard spokesman confirmed. In a press release, emergency services spoke of a “75 meter” fall.

A motorist saw the broken guard rail on the bridge where the accident happened and raised an alarm. Rescuers received a call from inside the bus, which allowed them to locate the wreckage in a river called LĂ©rez.

Emergency services said in a press release that “unfavorable weather” led to a sudden increase in the flow of the river, marked by heavy rains, and the search operation had to be suspended overnight.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard said they resumed at dawn on Sunday with significant resources sent in as reinforcements. They include mountain rescue units, cavers and divers, he said.

The cause of the accident is unknown

An investigation has been launched to ascertain the cause of the accident, which is yet to be ascertained. A Civil Guard spokesperson said the driver of the bus was an experienced driver. He also tested negative for alcohol and drugs.

According to regional daily La Voz de Galicia, the bus passengers were visiting relatives detained at the Monterroso penal center in central Galicia on Christmas Eve.