A tour bus en route to Varadero Beach smashed into a truck on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014, leaving more than 40 people injured, with nine in life-threatening condition, according to reports from area hospital officials. Two of the injured parties had to undergo amputation of their limbs, and eight are reported as requiring craniofacial surgery as a result of their injuries. All injured persons are being treated at Gustavo Aldereguia University Hospital in Cienfuegos Province near central Cuba, some 160 miles southeast of the nation’s capital of Havana.
Many of the people who were hurt in the crash were French tourists on board the bus at the time of the crash, though the truck driver and a tour guide are also reported as having sustained injuries. The bus and truck were allegedly traveling alongside one another when the bus was struck by the truck and dragged along the roadway for some distance before coming to a halt. A crane was called to the scene to lift the bus off the ground in order to free passengers who had been trapped beneath it.
The tourists were returning to Varadero following a visit to a monument erected in memory of revolutionary Che Guevara located in Santa Clara. Many of those on the bus at the time of the accident were senior citizens who hailed from Normandy. The French Embassy has stated that plans to return the injured parties to France following treatment have been put in place in light of the emergent nature of the situation.
Cuba receives much of its national revenue through the tourism industry, with up to three million people expected to visit in 2014. During the winter months, people come from all over Latin America, Europe and Canada to visit the island destination, whose weather is notoriously pleasant year-round.