The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Parliament unites and offers condolences to victims in double-decker crash; 7 remain in hospital

Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 19:33 Last update: about 8 months ago

Parliament was united this evening in offering their condolences and their sympathy to the victims, their family and friends, and those injured in the double-decker bus crash last Monday.

The open top bus had smashed into a tree on Valletta Road, Zurrieq.

Health Minister Chris Fearne, Transport Minister Ian Borg, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia, PN Deputy Leader Robert Arrigo, and MPs Toni Bezzina and Godfrey Farrugia all expressed their sympathies, while also praising the emergency and health services for the handling of the accident. 

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Fearne, who explained that he could not reveal every detail given that the case is now under a magisterial inquiry (headed by duty magistrate Monica Vella), said that emergency services were called to the scene at 4:15 pm. 

Initially, two ambulances were sent out, but when emergency doctors declared a major incident another four ambulances were dispatched.

Walter Busuttil, medical director at Mater Dei Hospital, told the media that most of the injuries were to the head, neck and upper extremities.

Two persons, a 37-year-old Spanish woman and a 62-year-old Belgian man, were pronounced dead at the scene. 

50 persons were left injured in the accident, with four suffering critical injuries, which included two children, aged 6 and 8.  One of the children remains in critical condition.

Two major operations have taken place on two British men, aged 21.

19 persons of the 50 were treated at the Health Care Centre in Paola, while 31 were taken to Mater Dei Hospital. A total of 12 children were injured in the accident.

So far seven persons remain within the hospital and under care.

When speaking, Minister Borg revealed that the driver and vehicle held all correct licenses and certificates.

The driver of the double-decker, aged 24, was this morning called in by the police for questioning.

The man had reportedly been on his first day on the job after he had worked for the same company for some weeks last summer. The out-patients block has been used as a centre for the loved ones of the victims of the accident, he said. The government has also offered to assist with flight and lodging expenses for any persons who will need to extend their stay in Malta due to the accident. 

PN Leader Adrian Delia during his intervention stressed that when such tragedies occur, Malta needs to be united and work to help those in need. "This kind of incident, particularly when involving tourists, takes an international light. There are also minors involved." He said that Malta has an obligation to show that Malta, with a history in nursing, is capable of taking care of those injured. He said that in such situations, Malta is not divided in terms of there being a government and an opposition, but is united.

A spokesman for City Sightseeing, operators of the service, has said since the accident: "We are shocked and saddened to learn that a vehicle operated by our Maltese franchise holder has been involved in a serious accident.


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