At least four people have died in a bus accident in eastern hesse. The tour bus fell about 50 meters down a berm on highway 4 and overturned. About 40 other passengers were injured. The bus came to a halt again on its wheels, police reported on tuesday.
According to the tour operator, the passengers came from the palatinate and the mannheim/heidelberg area. They were on their way to leipzig to celebrate the turn of the year, as the manager of the company palatina, mathilde nuber, said in hanhofen near speyer. The company has been offering the tour for several years now.
According to nuber, 44 people were on the bus – without the driver – which was driving for a company from calw in the northern black forest in baden-wurttemberg. It was followed within half an hour by a second bus with the same destination. "He has seen it firsthand", said nuber. The occupants, some of whom are said to be acquainted with the passengers of the crashed bus, have now been taken care of at a red cross center. "We know from one couple that friends were on the other bus."
Nuber was deeply shocked: "we are very, very concerned", said the 64-year-old. According to their statements, the pfalz customers come from the area between sudpfalz, kaiserslautern and frankenthal. A smaller number came from the mannheim/heidelberg area.
The accident was apparently caused by a car driver: the car skidded between the kirchheim interchange and the bad hersfeld junction in the direction of the east and crashed into the bus. "We can’t say anything yet about why it (the car) skidded", said the spokesman for the police in fulda, thomas rodemer. As a result, the bus driver lost control of his vehicle, the bus broke through the guardrail and crashed down the embankment. Its windows shattered, the roof was partially caved in.
At the scene of the accident, a place was set up, where the slightly injured passengers of the bus were treated, the police spokesman said further. Several fire departments from surrounding counties and five rescue helicopters as well as other rescuers were alerted. Two of the requested five helicopters had to turn away due to poor visibility. The highway was completely closed for hours and was reopened in the afternoon on one lane in the direction of eisenach and completely open to traffic in the opposite direction.
The bus accident has caused dismay among the travel company. "I have always wished with all my heart that the good lord would save us from something like this", driver nuber said. They know many of the bus occupants for a long time personally. The company published an emergency number for fans on its website.
The driver wanted to drive to eastern hesse with her husband in the afternoon to offer comfort to the bus passengers. "Many people know each other from other trips, this is our regulars", she said. Tuesday afternoon’s program of the accident bus had actually included the first appointment: a guided tour of the city of weimar.