The heirs of a Bulgarian tourist whose life was cut short in a double-decker sightseeing tragedy that shocked the nation last year have filed a judicial protest holding the bus operator and Transport Malta liable for damages.

The accident occurred on April 9, when two passengers sitting on the top deck of a sightseeing bus operated by City Sightseeing Malta Limited were hit by tree branches on Triq il-Belt Valletta, Żurrieq. They died on the spot. Dozens more were injured. 

Almost one year after that tragic episode, the heirs of one of those victims, Elisaveta Danielova Avdala, filed a judicial protest before the First Hall, Civil Court against the transport watchdog and the bus operator, “whose lack of diligence had caused the fatality which could have been avoided”.

Read: What caused the tourist bus to hit the Żurrieq tree?

They argued that Transport Malta had failed to implement a number of regulations, directives and laws intended to prevent such road accidents.

In spite of a directive aimed at ensuring better road safety, no safety inspection has apparently been conducted on Maltese roads to date, the judicial act read.

If such checks had been effected by local authorities, the tree branch which caused the fatality would have been noted and the inherent danger removed.

“There was no justification for the fact that today we have a situation where trees are practically and directly part of the roads… an alarming reality when one considers that there are no safety barriers or signs to inform drivers of what lay ahead,” the protest went on.

Read: 'He was a force to be reckoned with': tearful tribute to double-decker bus crash victim

The setting up of an agency this year to implement strategies relating to road construction and infrastructure did nothing to obviate the responsibility of Transport Malta who was the relative authority when the accident occurred.

As for the bus operator, the protesting parties 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.

His negligence was to be borne by the company in terms of civil law, the protesting parties went on, calling upon the defendants to liquidate damages within 30 days, failing which they were to be held responsible at law.

Lawyers Lorna Mifsud Cachia and Nicole Sultana signed the judicial act.

Read: Transport Malta has long recognised trees as road hazards - but did it act?

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