Authorities in Galicia found the body of a woman on Monday, making a total of seven people who died following a bus crash in the northwestern region on Christmas Eve, the police confirmed.
The crash happened on Saturday 24 December as the bus crossed a bridge over the Lérez river near the village of Pedre, around 30 kilometres south of Santiago de Compostela.
Emergency services had been alerted by a motorist who saw the broken railing on the bridge as he drove in heavy rain. The blue roof of the half-sunk bus could be seen in the river about 30 metres below the bridge. Rescuers also received a call from the bus, which helped them find the wreckage.
By Sunday, Christmas Day, rescuers had recovered the bodies of six victims. The injured driver and another passenger were taken to hospital. The search had to be suspended overnight due to bad weather, with heavy rain causing the level of the Lérez river to rise sharply. Initially, it was also believed that a total of eight people were on the bus.
However on Monday morning, the rescue operation resumed after the passenger who survived said a friend she had been travelling with was not on the list of victims, a Guardia Civil spokesman said.
‘When the injured woman was able to speak, she told us she had been travelling with a friend and that they had been due to have dinner together,’ he said. The woman hadn’t been reported missing as nobody was waiting for her, he added. Once the search was resumed, a police helicopter spotted her body in the river.
The Guardia Civil said the bus driver, who survived, had tested negative for alcohol and drugs. He was released from hospital on Monday, local media said.
Investigators were still looking into the cause of the accident on Monday.
‘Weather conditions were very bad that night,’ said Galician leader Alfonso Rueda after visiting the site of the accident.
The Voz de Galicia newspaper said among those on board were people who had just visited loved ones at a prison in central Galicia.
Accidente en Cerdedo-Cotobade 🔴 Comienzan los trabajos para retirar el autobús accidentado en el Lérez https://t.co/VedsDyTJ7U— La Voz de Galicia (@lavozdegalicia) December 27, 2022