Two tourists have been killed and six others critically injured after a double-decker bus hit low-lying tree branches in Malta. At least 44 others have been treated in hospital following the incident on Valletta Road, Zurrieq, on Monday.
A Belgian man, 62, and Spanish woman, 37, died immediately when branches struck passengers seated on the open-air top deck, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne confirmed. Twelve of those hurt were children, he added.
Victims in critical condition included three Britons: two boys aged six and eight, and a 44-year-old man. The others were a German woman, 31, an Italian woman, 72, and a 35-year-old man whose nationality has not yet been confirmed.
Police said the 24-year-old driver was on his first work shift since summer 2017 when the crash happened.
A spokesperson for City Sightseeing, the tour bus operator which ran the service, said the company was “shocked and saddened” by the incident and were working with their Maltese franchise operator to establish the “full facts”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this tragic event,” they added.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat also expressed his condolences for the victims and their families in Parliament.