Fatal incident on double decker bus: victim's heirs sue Transport Malta and bus operator for damages

The heirs of Elisaveta Danielova Avdala have filed a judicial protest against Transport Malta and City Sightseeing Malta Limited, requesting them to liquidate damages and pay compensation for Avdala’s death

On April 2018, one of the open top double-decker buses operated by City Sightseeing Malta had been carrying tourists through Triq il-Belt Valletta in Zurrieq when two passengers on the top deck were struck by low-hanging tree branches and killed
On April 2018, one of the open top double-decker buses operated by City Sightseeing Malta had been carrying tourists through Triq il-Belt Valletta in Zurrieq when two passengers on the top deck were struck by low-hanging tree branches and killed

The repercussions from last year’s fatal accident involving a double-decker sightseeing bus that clipped low-hanging tree branches continue to reverberate, with the heirs of one of the victims suing the bus operator and Transport Malta for damages.

On 9 April 2018, one of the open top double-decker buses operated by City Sightseeing Malta had been carrying tourists through Triq il-Belt Valletta in Zurrieq when two passengers on the top deck were struck by low-hanging tree branches and killed. The bus operators had subsequently filed a judicial protest against Transport Malta in September that year, claiming that it had not observed its own regulations.  

The heirs of Elisaveta Danielova Avdala filed a judicial protest before the First Hall of the Civil Court this week against Transport Malta and City Sightseeing Malta Limited, requesting them to liquidate damages and pay compensation for Avdala’s death. The family’s lawyers, Lorna Mifsud Cachia and Nicole Sultana, argued that the fatal accident was the fault of the defendants.

The judicial protest filed by the heirs this week argues that Transport Malta had failed to prevent the incident by ensuring a safe infrastructure and honouring the obligations imposed on it by regulations, directives and local laws, as well as its own published guidelines. To the best of their knowledge, not one safety inspection had been carried out by the authorities, they said.

People who suffered slight injuries were taken to health centers
People who suffered slight injuries were taken to health centers

Frequent audits should have been carried out by the authorities, especially in view of the fact that trees’ dimensions change over time, they argued. Although Infrastructure Malta had been set up in 2019 to deal with such issues, at the time of the incident it had been Transport Malta’s responsibility to ensure safety.

“There was no justification for the fact that today we have a situation where trees are practically part of the roads,” reads the protest. “This is an alarming reality when one considers that there are no safety barriers or signs to inform drivers of what they will be meeting on the road. It is understandable that the removal of trees from the road is not a solution to this, but it would be a very disappointing situation if one goes to the other extreme and takes no action at all.”

With regards to City Sightseeing Malta Limited, the plaintiffs argued that the driver, an employee of the company, had been driving recklessly and negligently and had failed to keep the established distance from the side of the road.

The judicial protest requests that the defendants take steps to liquidate damages within 30 days, after which they will be held responsible at law.

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