Saturday, July 6, 2013

Perú: Nineteen Bus Passengers Killed After Driving Off 200-Meter Cliff, Mechanical Failure Suspected

According to The Peruvian Times, a bus in the south Lima province of Yauyos drove off a 200-meter (657 feet) cliff killing 19 of its 55 passengers.  Others are seriously injured, most of them with multiple fractures. 

Given the distance that the bus feel after going over the cliff, it is amazing that most passengers were not killed.

The more seriously injured have been taken by several ambulances to hospitals in Lima, while minor injuries are being treated at the hospital in Mala, an hour south of Lima.

COMMENT: According to police in Calango, a mechanical failure caused the accident, on the highland road near the town of San Juan de Viscas, three hours from the coast.  The bus belonged to the Santa Rosa Transport Company.

As I have urged our readers over the years, I strongly suggest caution in selecting vehicles that connect to various towns and villages, for the following reasons:

1. Driver fatigue on trips in excess of six hours;

2. Well-known and poor maintenance of buses in the region;

3. Substandard safety inspection of commercial buses and vehicles;

4. Non-existent traffic regulation enforcement; and

5. Poor road conditions at high elevation;

6. Lack of guard rails on high-elevation mountain roads; and

7. Dangerous roads that permit only one vehicle to pass at a time on two-way roadways.

Alternatively, I strongly encourage foreign tourists to rent a well-maintained and maneuverable vehicle from a luxury hotel with a skilled, experienced driver and to hire a second driver if the trip is greater than six hours one-way.

It has often been said that when you purchase a ticket on a poorly maintained get exactly what you pay for.

In a related development, the number of people killed in a serious bus accident ten days ago in Chanchamayo (central Perú) has risen to 45, as police and a local rescue team recovered five more bodies this past weekend.  Police say that three other passengers are still missing, including a 4-year-old child.  The Empresa Turismo bus skidded off the high winding road near the Virgen tunnel, on the Tarma-San Ramón road, and crashed into the Tarma River.