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38 dead after 2 buses crash in Peru

Associated Press / February 23, 2010

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LIMA - Two buses crashed head-on along a remote stretch of highway in northeast Peru yesterday, killing at least 38 people and injuring 58, police said.

Police and firefighters used cutting equipment to reach the injured trapped inside the twisted wreckage of the buses, which collided shortly before dawn on the Panamerican Highway between Rio Hondo and Viru, 290 miles northeast of the capital.

No official cause was given for the accident, but Peruvian newspaper El Comercio posted pictures showing that the section of highway where the accident took place lacked an obligatory white dividing line separating the opposing lanes.

As of yesterday afternoon “the number of people killed in the accident has risen to 38 with another 58 wounded,’’ said regional highway police chief General Eduardo Arteta.

There were no foreign tourists among the dead, police said.

The buses were from the Crisolito and America Express lines.

Highway accidents are common in Peru because of the poor condition of roads, driver imprudence, and the lack of regulation of the transportation sector. According to official figures, about 3,500 people are killed each year in road accidents.