Brazil: 15 killed in bus crash in Paraty

7th Sep 2015
Brazil: 15 killed in bus crash in Paraty
By Ben Tavener

 

SAO PAULO (AA): A major bus crash in southeast Brazil killed at least 15 people Sunday and injured 66, local media quoted officials as saying.

The bus, which was reported to be carrying 81 passengers, was traveling from the popular coastal city of Paraty, in the south of Rio de Janeiro state, when it crashed at around 12:40 p.m. local time (GMT 1540).

Civil police said the driver appeared to have lost control of the vehicle after its brakes failed, causing it to miss a corner and crash down a 50-meter (164-foot) ravine, the G1 news portal reported. Images from the scene show the bus on its side in a densely-wooded area.

Paraty health secretary Paulo Eduardo Miranda said 14 victims had been killed in the accident, and one person succumbed to injuries in hospital. Thirty-seven passengers had to be rescued by emergency services from the vehicle, he said.

Most of the passengers were tourists traveling toward the beach town of Trindade, also in southern Rio state.

Crash investigators are working at the scene, and are hoping to remove the vehicle and reopen the key coastline route in the next hours.

Investigators will try to determine why the bus was carrying 81 passengers when it was licensed to carry 45, police investigators told the O Globo newspaper.

Paraty is a 17th-century colonial city located on the tropical mountainous coastline between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil’s two biggest cities, and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

Roads across Brazil have been busy this holiday weekend, with many Brazilians traveling for te country’s Independence Day on Sept. 7.

The Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported that residents in Paraty set up a Facebook page in 2013 to complain about the lack of maintenance for buses on the Paraty-Trindade route, after at least three serious or fatal accidents involving Colitur buses — the same company involved in Sunday’s fatal accident.

The crash is the latest in a string of deadly road incidents involving buses in Brazil.

In March, a bus fell into a ravine in southern Santa Catarina state killing 51 people, while in 2014, 23 people were killed in a bus accident in the northeastern state of Ceará; and 11 people were killed when a truck collided head-on with a school bus in Sao Paulo state.

Brazil has among the world’s worst records for traffic-related fatalities. In 2013, at least 40,500 people were killed, according to data from Brazil’s public health system, down from 44,800 in 2012.

[Photo: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. Photographer: Host Photo Agency/Pool/Anadolu Agency]

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