LIMA – The number of confirmed deaths from Wednesday’s bus accident in the southern region of Arequipa has reached 44, while 24 injured passengers have been taken to hospitals, Peru’s Indeci civil defense agency said.
Seven of the injured are in serious condition, including three young children.
The accident occurred around 12:30 am on the Pan-American Highway inside the limits of the town of Ocoña.
Authorities are still trying to determine what caused the bus to run off the road and plunge 200 meters (655 ft) to the bottom of a ravine along the banks of the Ocoña River.
The bus was traveling from Chala to Arequipa city, the regional capital, and was running on an expired operating permit, the transportation ministry said.
“My condolences to the families of the victims of the transit accident in Arequipa,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Twitter.