Sunday 18 March 2018

41 police officers die as bus plunges from bridge

The vehicle fell off a bridge in northern Argentina
The vehicle fell off a bridge in northern Argentina

Peter Prengaman in Buenos Aires

At LEAST 41 police officers were killed yesterday when a bus in a convoy in northern Argentina went off the side of a bridge and fell 20 metres.

The bus was one of three carrying police near Salta, a city about 1,500km north of Buenos Aires.

"For reasons that are still unknown, the bus lost control while entering the bridge and fell into the creek bed below," said a statement issued by the National Gendarmerie, a special police force that is typically charged with patrolling frontier regions.

Local television images showed rescue crews working around the overturned bus, which authorities said had been carrying around 60 people.

Gustavo Diaz, head of a group of volunteer firefighters in the area, told Argentine state agency Telam that 20 police were severely injured and were being treated in area hospitals.

The group was heading to the province of Jujuy, the country's most northern region, which borders Bolivia.

Roads in Argentina, a large country with a land mass about four times that of the US state of Texas, are poorly maintained in many rural areas.

The government announced that Security Minister Patricia Bullrich and National Gendarmerie director Omar Ariel Kannemann were travelling to the scene.

The crash comes as President Mauricio Macri begins his first full week in office.

He issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the accident victims.

"It's for this reason that we need to improve the roads so that this doesn't keep happening," Mr Macri's statement read.

Irish Independent

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