At least 27 dead after bus fell off a cliff in Peru
The Pan-American Highway in the Nasca desert, 400 kilometers south of Lima.Yuriko Nakao / Getty Images

At least 27 people have died this Friday after a bus fell off a cliff in the Andes mountain range, in Peru. The accident occurred around 4:00 in the morning at kilometer 37 of the highway between the municipalities of Nazca and Puquio, in a mountainous area with rugged geography belonging to the southern Andean region of Ayacucho, southeast of Lima.

At least 27 bodies were found at the scene of the accident, according to a statement from the mining company Ares, belonging to the Hochschild Group – one of the main economic conglomerates in the Andean country – which reported the number of deaths and assured that they have begun investigations of what occurred in coordination with the Prosecutor’s Office. “We are devastated by this news,” the CEO of the company, Ignacio Busdamente, told Reuters. The workers were transferred to Arequipa from the Pallancata mining unit, where they extract gold and silver.

According to the first versions of the accident, the vehicle was moving the group when it drifted off the road for reasons still undetermined. The bus circled several times along a steep slope of more than 200 meters. The Superintendency of Land Transport of Peré (SUTRAN) has activated the investigation protocols to determine the causes of the accident. “It is important to indicate that the unit was carrying out a special service for the transfer of workers for a private company and had authorization for said service,” SUTRAN has released in a statement.

Nine days ago, 17 people died in another traffic accident in Pataz, in an area called Balcón del Diablo, in the mountainous province of the La Libertad region, in northern Peru. The bus with 33 people fell into a chasm of 300 meters.

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Peru is one of the countries with one of the highest death rates from traffic accidents in Latin America. The Andean country has an estimated rate of 15.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, above Mexico (14.7 and with a much higher fleet), and below Venezuela, with a rate of 37.2. However, the WHO points out that Peru is one of the 77 countries – and one of the five in Latin America along with Bolivia, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua – that do not have reliable figures on the causes of registered deaths. Every year in Peru around 3,000 people die in traffic accidents, most of them due to run-ups, and some 55,000 are injured, according to figures from the National Road Safety Council.

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