efe-epaLisbon

Four of the 27 people who were injured in a fatal traffic accident on the Portuguese island of Madeira were in intensive care on Thursday as health authorities announced they would start the process of identifying the bodies of 29 people who died in the bus crash.

The bus crashed when the vehicle went off the highway and flipped over onto a house killing 29 German tourists on-board on Wednesday.

The Funchal Hospital said that four people remained in intensive care, eight were being seen by the orthopedics department and eight were in the surgical intermediate care unit.

Nine of the 27 injured passengers had been discharged.

Five people had undergone orthopedic and general surgery, two of which had been identified as Portuguese.

The remaining passengers and all of the 29 fatal victims were German.

Local media have been reporting that the two Portuguese injured people were the bus driver and the tour guide, although the hospital are yet to confirm this.

"We are still in a process of identifying the victims," Tomásia Alves the president of Madeira's Health Services said.

She added that for this reason families were yet to be alerted.

The Institute of Legal Medicine, in charge of the autopsies, said that they hoped to start the process of identifying and handing over the bodies of all the victims by Saturday.

The Institute are working with a team of experts that flew in from the continent to assist with the operation.

The Hospital confirmed that all injuries would be treated on-site and that no one would be flown to Lisbon as had been reported in the early hours of Thursday.

Prosecutors were investigating the circumstances of the accident.

Witnesses have told local media that they saw what looked like a possible issues with the breaks on the bus.

The bus belonged to a tourism company and was transporting a group of Germans who were visiting the archipelago, according to local authorities.

The tourists were staying at the Hotel Espléndida in the Caniço locality, just some 300 meters (yards) from where the accident occurred.

All but one of the fatal victims died on spot.

One woman died whilst in intensive care at the Funchal Hospital.

The Portuguese government have declared three days of mourning across the country starting Thursday.

The worst traffic accident on the island prior to Wednesday's crash occurred in 1984, when a public bus collided with a tree in downtown Funchal, killing about a dozen people.

Madeira, which has some 250,000 inhabitants, is located in the Atlantic Ocean almost 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the Portuguese coast.EFE-EPA

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