Thursday, March 28, 2013

Latin Ameríca: Death Toll Rises from Accidents on Mountain Roads,"Red Flag" for Tourists

Another bus accident in Péru’s southern region of Arequipa claimed more than 24 lives on Wednesday (March 27) when an inter-provincial bus traveling in the mountainous sector of Quiscos, at Km 88 near Orcopampa, on the road to Puño, went off a 120-meter (393 feet) cliff. 

The accident occurred just two weeks after 15 people were killed when a  bus plunged over a 150-meter (492 feet) cliff, also in Arequipa, on the Pan American Highway between Arequipa and Camaná.

COMMENT: As I have said numerous times in the past,  and particularly in Péru and Bolivia, most long-haul bus traffic accidents occur because of poor vehicle maintenance, over-tired drivers, excessive speed and driver inexperience.
 
The bus was reportedly owned by a company called Andares. It left the district of Orcopampa yesterday and was en-route to the city of Arequipa. Forty-eight people were on board, roughly half of whom died in the terrifying crash.

I strongly discourage foreign travelers from taking commuter buses in Péru and Bolivia, as the majority of buses operate on very dangerous, mountain roads.

Far safer options include taking reliable domestic flights or even renting a car and driver from a luxury hotel in major cities.

Traveling by bus in these two countries is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette.