LISBON — A tour bus carrying German tourists crashed on Madeira, a Portuguese island, on Wednesday, killing 29 people and injuring 28 others, the authorities said.The bus, which was carrying 55 people, rolled down a steep hillside after veering off the road on a bend east of the capital, Funchal, and struck at least one house, Mayor Filipe Sousa said.
Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva of Portugal said preliminary reports indicated that all the dead were German. But Tomasia Alves, the head of the Funchal hospital, said that not all the victims had been identified and refused to confirm the nationality of the dead.
Pedro Calado, the vice president of Madeira’s regional government, said at a news conference that the injured, including the Portuguese driver and a local tour guide, were taken to a hospital. It was not clear whether anyone killed was not originally on the bus, such as people on the roadside at the time of the crash.
Ms. Alves said at a news conference that two of the injured were Portuguese and that the rest were foreign-born, but she declined to give further details.Madeira, off northwestern Africa, is a popular vacation destination for Europeans because of its mild climate and lush, hilly landscape. Residents said the weather was fine at the time of the crash, which happened during daylight in the early evening.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa of Portugal said in a tweet that he had sent condolences to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. “I learned of this tragic accident in Madeira with deep sorrow,” he said.Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said “terrible news is reaching us from Madeira.” He said on Twitter that “we are in deepest sorrow over all those who lost their lives in the bus crash.”
Madeira’s regional government announced three days of mourning, when flags on public buildings are flown at half-mast. Mr. Calado said the bus was five years old and had passed its mandatory inspections. Authorities said they were investigating the cause of the crash.