A brutal account of the fatal double-decker bus accident that happened in Żurrieq three years ago was heard in court today as five people pleaded not guilty to several charges brought against them.
Speaking at a hearing today, Superintendent Johann Fenech gave a first hand-account of the aftermath of the scene which left two tourists dead and multiple injured.
“I had hardly ever seen anything like what was in front of me,” he said. “The left hand side of it was covered in blood, which was dripping on to the road. On the top part of the bus I saw two bodies, a man and a woman. I could see that she had suffered a large impact to her face and her right eye socket was protruding.”
The female in question was 37-year-old Elisaveta Danielova Avadala from Spain who was declared dead on the spot.
“Nearby there was the body of the Belgian man, whose left arm was missing, as he had been resting it on the top railing while the bus was in motion,” Fenech continued.
An additional 33 passengers were taken to Mater Dei to be treated for their injuries, four of whom were in a critical condition. 62-year-old Belgian national Kaenraad Richard De Vrieze died on the spot.
The accident was caused by an impact between the bus and a large tree branch protruding on Valletta Road as the bus drove through Żurrieq in April 2018.
“Debris, glass, branches and the man’s arm were found in the road. A few metres away a mobile phone was found, thought to belong to the driver,” Fenech said.
The driver of the vehicle, 27-year-old Charles D’Amato, was employed by City Sightseeing Malta on a part-time basis when the incident had happened.
According to the court hearing, D’Amato was instructed to change route by another driver. However, this accusation was denied by the other driver and D’Amato refused to disclose his phone pin number to the police.
D’Amato, along with four directors of City Sightseeing Malta, appeared in court today and pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them in relation to the horrific incident.
A number of criminal charges also appeared to be time-barred with a magisterial inquiry into the accident only wrapping up last month – a total of two years and 10 months after the incident happened.
The charges had only been presented in court on 16th February with Superintendent Josric Mifsud attributing the delay to it not being a “clear-cut case”.
“If you were aware that the charges were time barred, why did you issue them anyway?” Magistrate Joe Mifsud said in court.
The case will continue on 12th March.
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