12 dead in Portugal bus crash

Other News Materials 6 November 2007 09:04 (UTC +04:00)

( AP ) - A bus collided with a car on a highway in central Portugal and rolled down a slope Monday, killing at least 12 people, authorities said.

The bus flipped over several times, Alzira Serrasqueira, the governor of the Castelo Branco region, told Portuguese state television RTP. At least 24 people were hurt, five of them seriously, RTP reported.

The accident occurred after dark, Serrasqueira said. She said it was not immediately clear what caused it, but police were investigating.

Most passengers on the bus were elderly Portuguese returning to Castelo Branco, about 120 miles northeast of Lisbon, after a day trip to the coast and a visit to a Roman Catholic shrine, RTP reported.

Television footage showed the bus upright, its roof crushed, in a grassy area next to the highway. Several bodies lying nearby were covered with blankets.

Local officials could not immediately be reached for comment.