At least 43 Dead in Guatemala Bus Crash
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A bus carrying scores of passengers plunged off a steep cliff in western Guatemala, leaving at least 43 people dead, including newborn babies, and injuring 40 others, officials said.
President Otto Perez declared three days of official mourning for the tragedy, one of the deadliest in the Central American nation in years.
The bus fell 100 meters (330 feet) down the canyon, crashing next to a river in the municipality of San Martin Jilotepeque, 64 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital, Guatemala City.
Rescue workers installed cables between the banks of the river to move the bodies on stretchers above the water, their grim task becoming more difficult as it started raining.
Local residents who rushed to the scene volunteered to help rescuers pull victims stuck in the wreckage, AFP reported.
The government said in a statement the cause of the accident was not immediately known and an investigation was underway following initial reports of a brake malfunction.
Survivors said the bus was overloaded when it crashed, according to local media.
The bus, owned by a company named San Martineca, had a valid license to operate, as well as insurance coverage for victims, the communication ministry said.