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Freginals coach crash victims identified: One Uzbek and 13 European women aged 19 to 25
thinkSPAIN , Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ALL 13 victims of the Tarragona province coach crash have been identified, and are said to be female students aged between 19 and 25, mostly from Europe.

Seven are Italian, one French, one Austrian, one Romanian, two Germans, and the only non-European was a woman from Uzbekistan.

They were all 'sandwich year' students on an Erasmus scholarship, which allows university undergraduates to spend an academic year in college elsewhere in Europe to complement their course.

So far, the parents of the Uzbek girl and some of the Italians have arrived in Catalunya, and family members of the Romanian and Austrian women are on their way.

Catalunya's regional president Carles Puigdemont and Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi have met with relatives of the deceased and visited the Verge de la Cinta Hospital in Tortosa (Tarragona), close to the accident site, where six injured parties are still being treated.

One of them is in a critical condition, but another three originally said to be fighting for their lives are now out of danger.

The bus company, Autocares Alejandro, and the regional government of Catalunya have been passing the buck to each other over the cause of the accident, with the latter claiming it was human error – unconfirmed reports hint that the driver may have dozed off at the wheel – and the former insisting the notorious accident blackspot on the AP-7 motorway at kilometre 333, level with Freginals, was a tragedy waiting to happen.

The driver, aged 63 and said to have been in his career for between 35 and 40 years with a completely unblemished record, was admitted to hospital.

He was due to testify at the police station yesterday (Monday), but had to be moved to the intensive care unit due to a lung injury, meaning his statement will now need to wait until he is fit enough.

Surviving students, either on the same bus or one of the four others in convoy, are said to be suffering from shock and grief.

Some reveal they are now overwhelmed by a mixture of 'survivors' guilt' and terror at how narrowly they missed being a statistic.

Two business studies students from the UK, who were on the first coach in the queue returning from a long day out at the Fallas festival in Valencia, said they did not find out about the crash until they had arrived safely back in Barcelona.

Both British 20-somethings say they have been flooded with calls from their nearest and dearest in the UK, but that they are still not sure if they knew the victims personally since they had mixed with numerous other students from abroad during their stay in Valencia and over the last two terms in Barcelona.

They had been planning a trip to Ibiza over Easter, but are now considering cancelling it as neither of them feels in the mood for a holiday.

Another student, a Finnish woman, was said to be inconsolable since one of the Italian girls was her good friend and language studies classmate.

Survivor Hans, from Perú, who escaped with a broken arm and said Tortosa hospital had 'treated them all very well', spoke to Puigdemont during yesterday morning's memorial service at Barcelona University and said it was 'very difficult to get over being surrounded by' the tragedy.



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