[Rescuers work at the site of a bus accident that happened in the San Martin Jilotepeque, about 64 kilometers from Guatemala City, where the bus plunged into a 75-meter-deep ravine before it fell off into a nearby river, killing 43 people (Xinhua/Luis Echeverria)]
GUATEMALA CITY, (Xinhua): Authorities in Guatemala confirmed Monday that the death toll in a bus accident in the central part of the country went up to 43, while the number of injuries also climbed to 40.
According to the municipal fire department spokesman Cecilio Chacaj, the bus had left San Martin Jilotepeque, in western Guatemala, for the departmental capital of Chimaltenango. Its final destination was Guatemala City, the Guatemalan capital.
The accident happened in the San Martin Jilotepeque, in the department of Chimaltenango, about 64 kilometers from Guatemala City, where the bus plunged into a 75-meter-deep ravine before it fell off into a nearby river.
Chacaj said that 40 passengers died at the scene of the crash and three others later in hospital.
The bus, which was later found to have been crammed with more than 90 passengers, exceeding its maximum holding capacity of 60, was totally destroyed in the accident.
The injured were hospitalized. Fate of the bus driver was unknown.
The work was under way to identify the dead in a temporarily erected morgue on the scene and to inform the families of the deceased, said local officials.
It is still unclear what caused the accident, although it is initially attributed to a failure in the brake system and speeding.
Editor: Mu Xuequan