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Caniço Bus Accident Inquiry Still Ongoing

According to a judicial source, the Caniço Bus Accident, where a tourist bus crashed through a safety barrier on Estrada da Ponta da Oliveira, on the 17th of April 2019 at 18:30, killing 29 people (17 women and 12 men), and injuring a further 27, including the Portuguese guide and driver, is still ongoing, after three years.

The driver lost control of the bus, crashed through the barriers and ended up on top of house.  Onboard were 55 passengers who were travelling to a local restaurant to enjoy a typical Madeiran meal.

Eight months after the accident, on the 19th of December 2019, the Public Ministry requested the trial, in a collective court, of the bus driver “for 29 crimes of negligent homicide.” Furthermore, information released at the time by the District Attorney General of Lisbon (PGDL), also indicated that the man would also stand trial for three crimes of offence to physical integrity by negligence.

After a year, the relatives of the deceased and those injured in the incident were notified to file a civil claim, said the defendant’s lawyer. Moreover, the defendants lawyer, added that she had been notified of the accusation, but due to a disagreement over the accusations, she has launched an appeal and is waiting for the court to respond.

The Public Ministry and the Public Security Police (PSP) collaborated in the investigation and collection of evidence of the accident. Also according to information released by the PGDL at the time the indictment was made, the Judiciary Police and the Institute of Legal Medicine, proceeded to identify the victims, to speed up the process. The bus was then investigated by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, who concluded that there were “no problems with the engine or bodywork.” MAN engineers, the bus manufacturer were also also included in the investigation.

As the victims were foreigners, the German judicial authorities, assisted by their Embassy in Lisbon, collaborated in what has been termed a  “rapid inquiry for the victims, under the European investigation decision and EUROJUST.”

Samantha Gannon

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