SAN JOSE – Twelve people were killed and 18 others injured Thursday morning when a tour bus ran off the road and plunged some 20 meters (65 ft.) to the ground in central Costa Rica, authorities said.
The 20 women and 11 men aboard the bus were retired employees of the National University, the University of Costa Rica and the National Technological University.
Five men – including the driver – and seven women died, while 15 of the injured are in serious condition.
The passengers were on an excursion to the Maleku indigenous reserve and the La Paz Waterfall when the accident occurred at a spot near the town of Cinchona, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of San Jose.
Noting the heavy skid marks on the road, police said the crash may have been the result of a mechanical failure.
The government declared three days of national mourning for the victims.
“I express my deepest sadness in the face of the tragic accident in Cinchona. The country is moved by the loss of lives and we are united in solidarity with all of the affected people and their families,” President Luis Guillermo Solis said.