At least 44 dead in Guatemala bus crash
10 September 2013, 12:35
Guatemala City - A bus plunged into a deep river canyon in north-western Guatemala on Monday and at least 44 people were killed, officials said.
Mario Cruz, spokesperson for the volunteer fire department in the area, said 46 more people were injured and taken to hospitals. At the accident site, medical personnel were conducting autopsies on the dead, which showed multiple injuries.
Cruz said about 90 people were aboard the Guatemala City-bound bus, which had an official capacity of 54 passengers. The dead included at least three babies.
"Some of the people were rescued with hydraulic equipment, and others were thrown [from the bus] at the time of the accident," Cruz said.
The bus fell into a river at the bottom of the 200m canyon around 08:15 in the town of San Martín Jilotepeque, apparently after the driver lost control on a curve.
"From what we see, the bus crashed against a wall of rocks first and then fell into the cliff," Mayor Otto Vielman said.
The area has mostly dirt roads that wind through steep mountains without guardrails or other safety measures.