At least 44 die in Peru after bus plunges into ravine (UPDATED)

At least 44 die in Peru after bus plunges into ravine (UPDATED)

02:12 (GMT+4) At least 44 people died in Peru on Wednesday when a bus hurtled some 100 meters into a ravine in the mountainous south in the country’s second major bus crash this year, a local official said, Reuters reported.

“According to a report from the Peruvian National Police, there are 44 confirmed deaths as of now,” Yamila Osorio, the governor of the Arequipa region, wrote on Twitter.

The bus was carrying some 45 passengers, according to operator Rey Latino, but police said the figure was likely higher because additional passengers boarded along the route and did not appear in the initial register.

The crash occurred on a curve on the Panamericana Sur highway in the Ocona district. Road accidents are common in Peru, where roads are considered unsafe and bus drivers lack training.

“My condolences to the relatives of the victims of the transit accident in Arequipa,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wrote on Twitter. “We have taken all steps to provide immediate rescue support and transfer victims to the closest health centers so they can be attended immediately.”

At least 48 people died in early January when a bus collided with a truck and careened off a cliff near the area of Pasamayo on the Pacific coast.

22:34 (GMT+4) At least 35 people have been killed when a bus veered off a mountain road and plunged into a ravine in southern Peru, the Interior Ministry says, Press TV reported.

At least 20 other passengers were injured when the bus left the Pan-American highway and tumbled 80 meters down a jagged slope in the southern region of Arequipa on Wednesday.

"So far the bus accident has left 35 dead and 20 injured," the Interior Ministry announced on Twitter, quoting Arequipa police chief General Walter Ortiz.

Ortiz "specified that 45 people were registered as passengers on the bus. However, this does not match the number of people killed and injured."

State news agency Andina had earlier reported at least 20 people dead and 20 injured in the crash. The accident happened around 1.30 am (0630 GMT).

Rescue teams "have been working since dawn, coordinating the transfer and care of the injured," Arequipa governor Yamila Osorio wrote on her Twitter account.

The injured were taken to hospital in the city of Camana. Three seriously injured passengers were to be transferred by helicopter to regional capital Arequipa, Civil Defense chief Jacqueline Choque said.

The bus, operated by the Rey Latino company, had left the coastal town of Chala for Arequipa about four hours before the accident.

It was the second major accident on Peru's roads this year. On January 2, a bus crashed into a ravine in the country's central coastal area, leaving 52 dead.

22:34 (GMT+4)

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