A bus crash on the holiday island of Madeira is believed to have killed 28 tourists.

Filipe Sousa, the mayor of Santa Cruz where the crash took place, said 11 men and 17 women died in the crash - the majority of whom were German nationals.

Mayor Sousa said: "I have no words to describe what happened. I cannot face the suffering of these people."

A spokeswoman for Mfat said there were 54 New Zealanders registered as being in Portugal, but no indication that any New Zealanders have been caught up in this incident.

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Local media reports suggest the coach was heading to Funchal, the island's capital, and was carrying 55 passengers and a guide when it careered off the road.

First responders at the scene of the tourist bus crash on the Portuegese island of Madeira.
First responders at the scene of the tourist bus crash on the Portuegese island of Madeira.

The coach reportedly overturned after the driver lost control of the vehicle on a bend crashed onto the top of a house. Emergency services were first contacted at around 6.30pm local time.

Distressing video showed the walking wounded being helped away from the scene by emergency responders. Several survivors were sat by the side of the road.

Portuguese president Marcelo Sousa is reportedly heading to Madeira on a Portuguese Air Force plane.

Madeira, a Portuguese island, is a popular holiday destination.


- More to come