At least 23 people have been killed and 32 injured after a bus plunged into a river in the Andes Mountains in south-eastern Peru, police have said.
“The bus ended up nearly completely submerged in the river. That made the rescue brigade’s work difficult,” police spokesman Linio Sanchez of the town of Urcos said.
The overnight bus departed from the city of Puerto Maldonado on Thursday and was carrying passengers to the city of Cusco, some of whom were on their way to vote in Peru’s presidential election Sunday.
It went hurtling into the Mapacho river in a sparsely populated rural area.
The injured were taken to hospitals in Cusco and a nearby town.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it has been advised that no Australians were involved in the accident.
“Following reports of a bus crash in Peru, Australian consular staff made enquiries with the local authorities who advised that no Australians were among the passengers,” a spokesperson said.
Fatal road crashes are common in Peru, in part because of lax traffic enforcement, but also because of the Andean country’s challenging mountain terrain.
On January 18 at least 16 people were killed and 10 injured when a bus plunged off a curvy mountain road into the Tarma river in the central region of Junin.