Thursday, August 30, 2012

Péru: American Couple, Local Driver Die After SUV Plunges Off Cliff Road in Cuzco

According to EFE,  an American couple, James Dirks and his wife, Judy Leu Dirks, both in their 40s, and their Peruvian driver were killed on Tuesday (August 28) when the SUV they were riding in suddenly drove off a cliff  in Cuzco province and fell into a ravine estimated to be at least 1,300-feet deep.

COMMENT: Comments made by local police suggest that the driver misjudged the roadway as the trio were driving to the Huchuy Qosqo ruins.

As I have suggested in numerous previous postings, mountain roads in both Péru and Bolivia are particularly treacherous, which is why I urge all travelers to be particularly cautious in selecting local drivers who will take them on high-risk routes to historical and cultural sites.

It is far better for travelers in need of ground transportation to go through a reputable travel agency or provider than to spontaneously negotiate a fare with a driver whose experience in maneuvering dangerous mountain roads have not been corroborated.

It should be noted that Huchuy Qosqo aka "Little Cuzco," is an archaeological site north of Cuzco. It lies roughly 3,600 meters (11,600 feet) above the 3,000-meter town of Lamay.

Interestingly, Huchuy Qosqo is inaccessible by public road. Thus, it is possible that the driver did know the area well, which may have contributed to the accident.

Most visitors to Lamay reach Huchuy Qosqo either by hiking in to the site, which can take two days (to and from), or arranging for a horseback trip through local vendors.