03:19 (GMT+4) At least 36 people were killed when a bus tumbled down a cliff onto a rocky beach Tuesday along a narrow stretch of highway known as the “Devil’s Curve,” Peruvian police and fire officials said.
The bus was carrying 57 passengers to Peru’s capital when it was struck by a tractor trailer shortly before noon and plunged down the slope, said Claudia Espinoza with Peru’s voluntary firefighter brigade.
The blue bus came to rest upside down on a strip of shore next to the Pacific, the lifeless bodies of passengers strewn among the rocks.
“It’s very sad for us as a country to suffer an accident of this magnitude,” Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a statement.
Rescuers struggled to pull out victims from the hard-to-reach area in Pasamayo, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Lima.
No road leads directly to the beach, complicating rescue efforts, Espinoza said, though police and firefighters managed to transport six survivors with serious injuries to nearby hospitals by helicopter.
Traffic accidents are common along Peru’s roadways, with more than 2,600 people killed in 2016. More than three dozen died when three buses and a truck collided in 2015 on the main costal highway. Twenty people were killed in November when a bus plunged off a bridge into a river in the southern Andes.
The nation’s deadliest traffic crash on record happened in 2013 when a makeshift bus carrying 51 Quechua Indians back from a party in southeastern Peru fell off a cliff into a river, killing everyone on board.
Espinoza said the passengers in Tuesday’s crash included many returning to Lima after celebrating the New Year’s holiday with family outside the city.
The highway is known as the “Devil’s Curve” because it is narrow, frequently shrouded in mist and curves along a cliff that has seen numerous accidents. Police said the bus fell an estimated 80 meters (262 feet).
02:06 (GMT+4) According to Peruvian police, at least 25 people have died in Pasamayo, Peru, after a bus plunged 330 feet into a ravine. Thirty others are said to be injured, Sputnik reported.
Dino Escurdero, the chief of the Highway Police, told local media outlet Channel N that the current death toll is estimated to be at 25, however, the numbers could go up to either 40 or 50 dead as they "still do not have precise figures."
"At least 25 people are dead and around five are injured among those found," Escudero told local outlets. "The police and firefighters are working to rescue the victims of the crash, but we believe the death toll could rise."
The bus left Tuesday morning from the northern city of Huacho and was headed to Lima when the accident took place on the Pan-American Highway. A total of 57 passengers, in addition to the driver and one crew member, were said to be onboard, Blu Radio reported Escudero saying.
The portion of the highway that the bus was travelling on is known by locals as "la curva del diablo," which translates to the curve of the devil. The chief later added that the bus went over the cliff, which lies along the Pacific Ocean, after it collided with a truck.
Some of the injured were taken to nearby hospitals in Chancay and Ancón.