Peru bus plunge kills 36 along road stretch known as 'devil's curve'

Wednesday, Jan 03, 2018
Photo: AFP

LIMA - At least 36 people were killed in Peru on Tuesday (Jan 2) when their bus plunged around 100m over a cliff after colliding with a truck, police said.

The accident took place on a coastal highway around 45km north of the capital Lima, said Colonel Dino Escudero, head of the police's highway patrol division.

He earlier gave a toll of at least 25 dead but said the number of victims could increase.

A police helicopter winched some rescue workers down to the wreck of the blue bus while others made the precarious journey down on foot with the assistance of ropes.

Photo: AFP

The Navy sent a patrol boat to assist the rescuers trying to get everyone out before the tide rose.

At least six people were confirmed to have survived.

The bus was travelling from Huacho, 130 kilometers north of the capital, to Lima with 53 passengers on board.

Its overturned wreckage was seen partly submerged in the sea after plunging over the cliff.

The spot where the accident occurred is known as the "devil's curve."

A helicopter was winching some of the rescue workers down to the wreck of the bus while others were walking down to the spot with the assistance of ropes.

The Pasamayo highway on which the tragedy occurred is only used by trucks and buses, as cars travel a different route.

It is a dangerous sea-hugging road where fog is frequent and high humidity can make the roadway slippery.

Photo: AFP

The bus driver had a lot of experience and was working with an assistant, said Luis Martinez, a representative of Transportes San Martin de Porres, which owned the bus.

Martinez could not confirm whether the driver had been killed or injured, but added that the bus underwent a mechanical check before leaving Huacho.

More than 2,500 people died in traffic accidents in Peru in 2016, according to official figures.

Earlier this year, 15 people were killed in a bus crash in Yauya district, in a remote area of central Peru. That accident occurred during conditions of heavy rain and poor visibility.

Traffic accidents are common and often deadly in this country of 30 million, which rises from coastal desert to the towering Andes and encompasses tropical Amazon basin lowlands.