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40+ Dead In Guatemalan Bus Plunge

Some Survive 600-Foot Cliff Dive

Reuters

AN OVERLOADED BUS packed with farm vendors near Guatemala City crashed against a rock wall and then careened off the roadway in a hairpin turn Monday afternoon dropping 600 feet into a ravine and landing in a riverbed.

via Xinhua

The death toll is currently at 43 killed with a possibility of rising as more than 40 other passengers who amazingly survived the plunge are hospitalized, many in critical condition.

Reuters is reporting:

At least 43 people were killed and dozens injured when a bus went off a cliff on a hairpin bend in rural Guatemala, tumbling 200 metres (660ft) into a river at the bottom of a ravine, officials said.

via Xinhua

The bus had been travelling south towards Guatemala City. Rescue workers said conditions were dry and mostly sunny, and that the bus was likely over capacity. "The bus was overloaded," said Sergio Vasquez, a volunteer firefighter at the site. He said 38 people died at the scene including six children and 12 women. Five more died at hospitals.

Local television said many passengers had been vendors taking farm produce to market.

The Associated Press:

The fire department spokesman said approximately 90 people were aboard the Guatemala City-bound bus, which had an official capacity of 54 passengers. The bus driver, Yony Cumar Cana, died in the accident.

via Xinhua

"Some of the people were rescued with hydraulic equipment, and others were thrown (from the bus) at the time of the accident," Cruz said.

People from the nearby town of San Martín Jilotepeque gathered at the scene and were shocked when they saw rescue workers carrying out the bodies of three babies wrapped in pastel-colored blankets. Boys and girls were brought out of the canyon on stretchers.

via Xinhua

The area has mostly dirt roads that wind through steep mountains without guardrails or other safety measures.

BBC News has MORE.

TV 6 has posted some rather graphic raw video:

 

Some additional videos illustrating the rescue efforts:

 

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Thanks to Mark Donovan.

 

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