QUITO – Thirteen bodies from the bus crash that took place on Tuesday some 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Quito, which left 23 people dead and 22 others injured, remained unidentified Wednesday afternoon, local authorities said.
The 13 bodies, thought to belong to Colombian and Venezuelan nationals, are expected to be identified in the coming days after the victims’ family members arrive in Ecuador and after the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out the necessary procedures with the consulates of Colombia and Venezuela in Quito.
The accident, which occurred at 2:55 am along a stretch of the Pifo-Papallacta highway known as the “curve of death,” involved an off-road vehicle carrying nine Ecuadorian nationals and a bus with a Colombian license plate carrying mostly Colombians but also eight Venezuelans.
Authorities said that the off-road vehicle was carrying three adults and six minors, and that most were not wearing seatbelts.
So far, 10 bodies have officially been identified, including six Colombians, two Venezuelans and two Ecuadorians.
Kleber Viteri, head of the forensic medicine department of the province of Pichincha, said that 14 women, seven men and two Ecuadorian minors were killed in the crash, including a 15-year-old male teenager and a one-year-old boy.
According to preliminary investigations, the bus with a Colombian license plate was en route to the Ecuadorian canton of Lago Agrio, in the province of Sucumbios, near the border with Colombia.
The preliminary investigations also suggest that the crash, in which the two vehicles slammed into each other and kept rolling together for about 1 kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) before turning over and smashing into several buildings, took place after the bus’s brakes failed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador said that the 22 injured passengers include 14 Colombian nationals, three Venezuelans and five Ecuadorians.