Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canadian Woman Killed in Bus Crash Near Cusco

Margaret Pidlaski, a Canadian woman in her 50s, died on Friday (December 23) from injuries sustained in a tour bus crash while traveling near Cusco, in Peru. According to local media, an American also died in the accident and some 20 other passengers were injured. The bus, run by the tourist transport company, Tour Peru, was en route from Puno to Cusco with about 50 people on board when it crashed. Speed and wet roads from rainfall in the region may have played a role.

COMMENT: Ironically, Pidlaski survived a deadly bus crash in Mexico in the mid-80s, that left her with severe injuries that took over a year to recover from. After her recovery she went to China following the Tiananmen Square massacre and taught English as a foreign language specialist throughout China.

Pidlaski was the director of adult English-language programs for the Manitoba government's Labor and Immigration Department.

As I have commented all too often in the past, bus travel in developing countries is always a risk. Although tour buses are a cost-effective means of moving large numbers of tourists around, driver training and competency is always questionable. Increasingly, I have been urging clients to alternatively consider the use of a convoy of several smaller passenger vehicles, particularly considering the poor maneuverability of large tour buses on poorly maintained and narrow rural roadways.

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