Death toll in Peru bus crash climbs to 44

The accident in January also happened on the Pan American Highway

AT LEAST 44 people are dead after a double-decker bus veered off a highway and over a cliff in Southern Peru and plunged 200 metres into a rocky ravine.

Local media said the coach had fallen from a height that was variously described to be between 80m (260ft) and 200m (650ft). The bus stopped on its side feet from the Ocoña River.

Ortiz "specified that 45 people were registered as passengers on the bus".

The Rey Latino company operated the bus and was taking the passengers from Chala to the city of Arequipa.

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The crash came less than two months after another passenger bus plunged off a cliff on the same highway, killing 52 people.

The cause of the accident remains unknown, however Jacqueline Choque, head of the Office of National Defence and Civil Defence of the Regional Government of Arequipa shared her views with RPP News.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the governor of Arequipa, Yamila Osorio, broadcast Internet messages in which they lamented the tragedy and expressed condolences to the families of the victims. Air Force helicopters helped rescue survivors.

The accident occurred early Wednesday in mountainous Arequipa.

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