4 airlifted to FLL after Bahamas tour bus crash recovering at hospital

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Four people were flown to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and taken to a Broward County hospital after, officials said, they were injured in a tour bus crash in the Bahamas.

Fire engines and ambulances from Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue could be seen near a C-130 airplane that landed at the airport, just before 4 p.m., Monday.

The passengers were on a shore excursion from the Carnival Ecstasy, which departed on a five-day cruise from Jacksonville, Saturday.

According to reports, 32 passengers were on board a tour bus in Eleuthera when it flipped over near Rock Sound, at around 11 a.m., causing 26 people to suffer injuries.

Six people on board the bus were seriously or critically injured in the crash, according to reports.

Two of the six were airlifted to New Providence in the Bahamas.

Photos and cellphone video from the crash scene showed skid marks leading to the crash site.

“Tour bus ran off the road. Looks like they started sliding from here. Wow,” said one witness.

Rescue crews transported the victims to Broward Health Medical Center.

Royal Bahamas Police Force Superintendent Frederick Sands said, “The rest are just minor bruises. Nothing extra at this time. We are still in the initial state of our investigation.”

BSFR officials said three of the four patients suffered serious injuries that included limb fractures, internal injuries and possible paralysis. The fourth patient suffered minor injuries.

“I’m happy to say that actually all of our patients are in fair condition, but overall, they’re actually doing well,” said Broward Health Medical Center Dr. Jose Lozada. “They, overall, are doing better today than they were yesterday and are demonstrating signs of improvement. One of our patients, I suspect a full recovery, other patients are still going to require further treatment before we can make that assessment.”

All of the patients were conscious and spoke to paramedics when they arrived at the airport, fire officials said.

“From the pattern of injuries and what they reported to me, there was actually both some entrapment in the bus and outside of the bus as well,” said Lozada.

One patient, who originally came with a bleak prognosis, is now on the upswing, according to doctors.

“What was initially a severe paralysis is actually now demonstrating signs of improvement,” said Lozada, “but I’m pretty optimistic that everyone will do quite well.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, remaining patients at the hospital are said to be in fair condition while another victim was released from the hospital.

Bahamian officials said as of Monday night, they believe everyone who suffered injuries will survive.

“We are very happy that it ended that way,” Sands said.

A Carnival Cruise Lines spokesperson released a statement Monday afternoon that read in part, “All guests were seen at the local medical clinic and 28 have been cleared to return to the ship. Four guests with injuries were airlifted for hospital treatment, three of which went to Fort Lauderdale. Carnival’s CareTeam is providing support to the guests. The cause of the accident is being investigated.”

7Skyforce HD hovered over the scene while crews took the injured off the plane and into waiting ambulances.

According to airport officials, the C-130 was used to airlift the injured to the airport.

The cause of the bus crash remains under investigation.

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