28 killed on Portuguese island of Madeira as tourist bus plunges off embankment and hits a house

Doug Stanglin
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28 killed on Portuguese island of Madeira as tourist bus plunges off embankment and hits a house

A bus carrying German tourists plunged off an embankment on the Portuguese island of Madeira, leaving 28 dead.

A bus carrying German tourists plunged off an embankment on the Portuguese island of Madeira on Wednesday and slammed into a house, leaving 28 people dead, according to the local mayor.

Portugal's RTP News quotes Filipe Sousa, the mayor of the city of Santa Cruz, as confirming the deaths of 11 men and 17 women. The report was also carried by the national news agency Lusa. About 22 others on the bus were hospitalized.

It was not immediately clear whether all the fatalities were aboard the bus.

"I have no words to describe what happened," Sousa told broadcaster SIC TV. "I cannot face the suffering of these people."

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The Portuguese island is a popular tourist site. The year-round resort is a Portuguese archipelago located about 400 miles off the coast of north Africa and is known as the Pearl of the Atlantic.

The news agency said Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was flying to the island to survey the tragedy.

The tourist bus left the road after failing to make a curve near the town of Caniço, tumbling down an embankment alongside the Atlantic Ocean and slamming into the red-tiled roof of a house, according to Diario de Noticias, the Madeira newspaper.  

The newspaper said bodies were strewn along the slope and that more fatalities were feared.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 28 killed on Portuguese island of Madeira as tourist bus plunges off embankment and hits a house