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San Antonio

Coach plunges off cliff in Peru killing at least 48 people

By Sheetal Sukhija, The San Antonio News
04 Jan 2018, 11:18 GMT+10

PASAMAYO, Peru - In a horrific tragedy, a coach plummeted 100m down a cliff and landed upside down on a beach in Peru, which left 48 people killed. 

Officials said that the bus, which belongs to the San Martín de Porres transport company, was travelling to Lima from Huacho, about 130km (80 miles) north of the capital.

The accident took place on a notorious stretch of road known as Curva del Diablo, which is called the devil’s bend in Pasamayo, north of the capital Lima.

The stretch of road winding alongside the Pacific Ocean where the accident took place is considered one of the most dangerous in Peru.

The road has no barriers separating it from a sheer drop to the ocean.

Further, the sea spray and frequent fog can make the road particularly slippery.

At the time of the accident, the coach had over 50 people on board when it collided with a lorry.

According to the transit police, the lorry driver had been detained for questioning.

The health ministry meanwhile said that six people had survived the accident, one of whom had jumped from the bus before it fell.

The bus company said that its driver was very experienced and was travelling with an assistant. 

The company added that the bus had passed a mechanical check before leaving Huacho.

Post the accident, footage emerged showing rescue workers struggling to reach the bus, with a helicopter winching down some emergency workers while others were lowered down the cliff with ropes.

Overnight, rescue work had to be halted as the tide rose and engulfed parts of the coach. 

The rescuers were helped off the beach by a Peruvian navy boat.

According to the local media reports, one of the passengers managed to survive by jumping out of the coach before it plunged down the cliff.

Officials said that five other survivors were pulled from the wreckage and are being treated for multiple fractures.

So far, rescue officials have said that 24 bodies have been recovered.

In a statement, Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said it was "painful for the whole country to suffer an accident of this magnitude.”

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