By FARRAH JOHNSON
A number of tourists were airlifted to New Providence and South Florida hospitals for medical treatment following a serious traffic accident in South Eleuthera Monday morning.
At least 26 of the passengers were hurt , with six of them being flown out for serious injuries, when a tour bus they were riding in skidded off the road and flipped over into nearby bushes.
According to reports, the incident happened around 11am in Rock Sound.
In the Senate Monday, Attorney General Carl Bethel confirmed the government initiated a national disaster plan in response to the incident and sent prayers and well wishes to the victims affected.
“There have been some casualties, as yet no deaths, but there have been casualties,” he said.
“... All resources are being allocated to swiftly send air ambulances to South Eleuthera to bring the injured persons who need hospitalised care to New Providence.
“The United States Coast Guard has landed several helicopters at Odyssey and are prepared to do what they have to do for their citizens who may require more complex interventions,” he added.
The Tribune understands the tour bus involved belongs to Eleuthera Adventure Tours Limited, who were giving guests from the Princess Cays cruise ship a tour of the southern part of the island when the accident occurred.
Photos of the accident circulating on social media show skid marks and broken branches strewn across the road, with the tour bus overturned in bushes, laying on top of broken trees and uprooted plants.
Victims of the accident were transported to the Rock Sound Community Clinic by EMS personnel for treatment; however those who sustained more serious injuries were airlifted from the island for further care.
On Monday, the Public Hospitals Authority also released a press statement requesting blood donations for five people involved in the accident who were critically injured.
“The Public Hospitals Authority’s agencies namely the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and National Emergency Medical Service (NEMS) activated their mass casualty incident protocol,” the statement read.
“NEMS assisted with ground transportation and deployed ambulances to the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) to receive the injured.
“An urgent call for blood donations has been issued. Donations may be made at the Princess Margaret Hospital Blood Bank and Doctors Hospital Blood Bank.”
Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle confirmed police dispatched a team from the capital to Eleuthera to investigate the matter.