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At least 44 dead as bus veers off cliff in Peru

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 21, 2018

In this photo provided by the government news agency Andina, a crashed bus lays on the bottom of a cliff in Arequipa, Peru, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Associated Press)
In this photo provided by the government news agency Andina, a crashed bus lays on the bottom of a cliff in Arequipa, Peru, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

LIMA, Peru – A double-deck bus ran off the Panamerican Highway and tumbled about 650 feet down a cliff in southern Peru on Wednesday, and police said at least 44 people died.

Highway Police chief Jorge Castillo told the Associated Press the death toll had risen as officers counted more bodies and worked to rescue survivors. Some were flown to hospitals in military helicopters. About two dozen people were injured.

The bus operated by the Rey Latino line ran off the road shortly after midnight near the mouth of the Ocona River on Peru’s southern Pacific coast.

The cause wasn’t immediately known, but accidents caused by reckless driving on poorly maintained mountain roads claim dozens of lives every year in Peru. In January, 52 people were killed in the country’s worst road fatality in four decades.

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