The crash is the latest deadly accident on Peru’s roadways, which have seen an increase in traffic-related fatalities.
Published On 18 Sep 2023
At least 24 people are dead after a bus in Peru veered off a mountainous road and plunged down a slope in the early hours of the morning on Monday.
The bus had been travelling north from Ayacucho in the south-central part of the country to Huancayo, the capital of the Junin region, when it reportedly crashed around 1:30am local time (06:30 GMT).
Local media reported that the bus flipped several times as it tumbled down the rugged mountain terrain in the area of Huancavelica.
Manuel Zevallos Pacheco, the mayor of the Anco district, told the news outlet RPP that the bus fell at least 150 metres (492 feet).
The regional government of Ayacucho reported that it had attended to 11 injured passengers at the Huanta Support Hospital. The newspaper La Republica estimates the total number of wounded could stretch as high as 36.
#LOÚLTIMO Bus interprovincial de ruta Huancayo – Ayacucho de la empresa Molina Unión sufrió despiste y volcadura cayendo al Río Mantaro. Medios locales informan de más de 20 personas fallecidas.
– Video: Rodito Audaz pic.twitter.com/VoTrPajys0
— Roger García (@RogerAderly) September 18, 2023
Peru’s transportation authority, SUTRAN, issued a statement on Monday offering condolences for the dead and pledging to probe the incident.
It added that, according to preliminary investigations, the bus had the proper authorisation for passenger transport: It had its mandatory accident insurance and had passed a vehicle inspection.
“At this time, SUTRAN is continuing its investigations, as established within the framework of its powers,” the agency wrote, underscoring its “commitment to supervising compliance” with federal regulations.
The company that operates the bus route, Molina Union, confirmed the death toll to the Reuters news agency on Monday but declined to offer further details.
Monday’s accident is the latest deadly tragedy to unfold on Peru’s roadways, made all the more perilous by the steep terrain of the Andes Mountains.
In January, for instance, a bus carrying 60 passengers dove off a cliff in northern Peru. Preliminary reports indicated at least 24 people died in that crash as well.
In 2021, a string of fatal passenger-vehicle accidents occurred within a span of four days, including two bus crashes. One plunged into a ravine in the country’s southeast, while another toppled off a cliff some 60km (37 miles) from the capital Lima.
Authorities investigating the latter said “recklessness” and “high speed” contributed to the deadly accident. Experts have also questioned whether the bus drivers navigating these winding mountain roads receive proper training.
Meanwhile, in an interview with RPP, Mayor Zevallos Pacheco expressed frustration with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications for allegedly not looking into a recent avalanche that took place on the same roadway as Monday’s crash.
“Practically as a result of this, we have an accident,” he told RPP.
The news outlet reported that traffic accidents have increased in Peru in recent years, with injuries climbing from 38,447 in 2020 to 53,544 in 2022. Traffic-related deaths have also risen to 3,311 as of last year.
Al Jazeera and news agencies