Bus crash in Ocoña District of Peru costs over 40 lives

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

A bus crash in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time (UTC-5), in the Ocoña District in Peru's southwestern Arequipa Region, claimed at least 44 lives.

A double-decker bus operated by the Rey Latino company was travelling on the Pan-American Highway, making its way from Chala — where it had departed at 9 a.m. — to the city of Arequipa. On a curve in the mountainous area of Ocoña, at PAH kilometer 782, it slid off the road and fell several hundred feet (100 feet equals about 30 metres) into a ravine. The wreckage of the bus came to rest near a fast-flowing river, and some of the victims' corpses were taken along by the stream. Rescuers tried to recover bodies from the river.

A death toll of 44 was established on Wednesday by the Peruvian National Police and confirmed by governor Yamila Osorio on Twitter, but officials said the toll would likely rise further. 43 of the 44 died on site, while another one died later in hospital. Four of the dead were of minor age. By varying reports more than 30 people were injured. Early reports indicated injured were taken to a hospital in Camaná. Police said they didn't know how many passengers the bus was actually carrying, as the official figure registered by Rey Latino was 45, but extra passengers had apparently boarded after the bus left Chala.

Officials said the permit with which the bus was driving expired in November 2016.

Peruvian President Pablo Kuczynski expressed his condolences 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", he added.

It is the second major bus crash on the Pan-American Highway in Peru in less than two months. In early January, a bus collided with a truck near Pasamayo, falling down a cliff and killing about 50 people.