Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Bus plunges off of mountain road in Peru, crushing 49

AP , Peru

A passenger bus careened off a mountain road in Peru and plunged 50m into a jungle river, killing 49 people and injuring 15 others, police said.

The accident occurred Sunday in the Andean jungle, 346km northeast of the capital, officer Juan Siu Gomez said Monday via telephone from Aguaytia, near the crash site.

The bus was headed from Lima to the jungle town of Pucallpa, about 483km to the northeast, when it crashed, police said. There were no foreign passengers on board.

Police Captain Omar Martin told reporters that the number of dead reached 49 after rescue workers pulled victims from the bus, which was submerged in the Yurac River.

Peru's leading daily newspaper, El Comercio, reported that survivors told authorities the driver lost control of the bus in a heavy rainstorm while speeding across a bridge over the river.

Bus crashes are common in Peru, where drivers frequently speed and pass vehicles along blind mountain curves.

In November, a passenger bus plunged almost 152m off a mountain highway in the southern Andes, killing 17 people and injuring 36 others.

Five days earlier, a passenger bus plunged more than 198m off an isolated mountain highway in the Andes, killing at least 28 people and injuring 28 others.

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