Dozens of French tourists hurt in Cuba road accident
Forty-one French tourists and two locals were injured in Cuba Monday when the bus they were traveling in hit another vehicle, media reports and diplomatic sources said.
In addition to the tourists, the Cuban driver and tour guide were also hurt, said the news agency Prensa Latina.
Seven of the French nationals were in serious condition after the accident in central Cuba following a visit to a monument to Che Guevara, said an official at the French Embassy.
"All the passengers and the driver were injured to a greater or lesser extent, but only seven of them are in a condition deemed serious or grave," the official said.
Romain Bail, mayor of the French town of Ouistreham, the home base of the travel association that organized the trip, said two of the injured underwent amputations and a third suffered serious facial burns.
All 43 injured were taken to a hospital in Cienfuegos, 250 kilometers (160 miles) southeast of Havana, the diplomat said.
The bus struck a vehicle traveling in the same direction as the bus was returning to Varadero from Santa Clara, where the tourists had visited a monument that holds the remains of the Argentine-Cuban guerrilla fighter.
Cuban television said the bus rolled over and slid several meters. Locals used a crane to lift the bus and help the injured, it said.
"Apparently it was a truck that caused the accident," Bruno Menu, an official with the R-Evolution Voyages travel agency in Havana that arranged the trip, told AFP.
"According to everyone here, the driver has a reputation for being very cautious. He succeeded in braking but the bus hit the truck which was at a virtual standstill, and overturned," he said.
Radio Ciudad de la Mar, a local station, said the driver was traveling at an excessive speed.
The accident came during the busy season for Cuban tourism, in which thousands of visitors from Europe, Canada and Latin America flock to the island.
Tourism is one of Cuba's main sources of revenue. The government has forecast it will receive around three million visitors this year.
More than 500 people have been killed in road accidents in Cuba during the first nine months of this year, according to an official count.
© 2014 AFP