Peru bus crash update: Death toll rises to 51

Rescue workers work at the scene after a bus crashed with a truck and careened off a cliff along a sharply curving highway north of Lima, Peru, January 3, 2018. (REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo)

The death toll in the Peruvian bus crash last Tuesday has reached 51, as authorities conclude the search for bodies in the wreckage of the vehicle that plunged from a mountain road onto a beach below.

The accident occurred when a tractor-trailer crashed into a bus while they were traveling on a dangerous stretch of mountain road known as the “Devil’s Curve.” The passenger bus hurtled off the mountain road down a rocky cliff, before crashing onto a beach over 260 feet below.

The crash site is located in Pasamayo, 45 miles north of Lima. The beach where the bus landed is inaccessible by land, so emergency responders had to be brought in via helicopter or boat.

Rescue workers worked on the site of the crash for over 24 hours to saw through the frame of the bus to recover the bodies of the victims. Six survivors were taken to hospitals, including one man who said he jumped out of a window of the bus just moments before it fell off the cliff.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident. Initial reports indicate that both the bus and the truck were traveling at high speeds at the time of the collision.

The bus was owned by the company Transportes San Martin de Porres, who claimed that the driver was an experienced one and had an assistant on board. It also said that the bus underwent inspection before the trip.

The bus was carrying 57 passengers traveling to Lima from Huacho, located 100 miles north of the capital. Many of them were returning to Lima after spending the holidays outside of the capital.

With the accident’s death toll, it becomes one of the most deadly vehicular accidents in the recent history of Peru. In 2013, 51 people also died when a makeshift bus carrying Quechua Indians fell off a cliff and crashed into a river.