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Portuguese bus crash kills 14 Fatima pilgrims
    A tour bus packed with pilgrims returning from a visit to Fatima careered off a highway in northern Portugal and rolled down a steep ravine Saturday, killing 14 passengers and injuring 24 others, six of them seriously.
    The bus came off the IP-3 highway near Santa Comba Dao, a town about 192 km north of Lisbon, at about 8:00 p.m. local time, media reports said.
    Most of the passengers on the bus, which was returning to the city of Viseu following a day trip to the shrine at Fatima, were over 50 years old but included a 13-year-old girl, cable news channel S.I.C. reported.
    The bus went off the highway following a heavy rain shower, state radio RDP said. It crashed in the garden of a house at the bottom of a ravine nearly 30 metres below. No other vehicle was said to be involved.
    Officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Residents of Santa Comba Dao in recent months have staged numerous protests about the IP-3, saying its tight bends are dangerous when wet. They held a protest on Friday, urging the government to improve the road.
    The accident came three weeks after a double-decker tour bus and three cars fell into a river in northern Portugal when a bridge collapsed, killing 59 people.
   
AP
   
26-Mar-01


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