42 killed after bus plunges into a ravine in Brazil

  • AFP, Rio de Janeiro
  • Updated: Mar 15, 2015 10:04 IST

At least 42 people were killed Saturday when a bus plunged off a ravine in southern Brazil, according to the regional government.

An earlier toll of 32 dead increased after several bodies were found at the crash site in Santa Catarina state and three children who had been rescued died at a nearby hospital, government spokesman Cladio Thomas said, noting that the final toll could rise further.

Rescue workers were still trying to reach any survivors but access to the crash site in Santa Catarina state was difficult, a local government spokesman told AFP, stressing that the toll could still rise.

The tour bus carrying 50 people plunged 400 meters (1,300 feet) into a wooden ravine as night fell, complicating search efforts, the spokesman said.

The driver is believed to have lost control of the vehicle on the curvy stretch of highway, but the cause was still under investigation.

Still, emergency crews rescued 12 people who survived. They were taken to hospital for treatment.

"There are people out there, on the hill, in the bus, trapped in the wreckage. But the chance of finding someone alive are pretty slim," Colonel Nelson Coelho said in a statement.

Some 43,000 Brazilians are killed in car crashes every year.

And from 2002-2012, the traffic accident rate surged by over 24%.

With the economy growing and the population topping 200 million, an estimated 10,000 new cars hit the road every day.

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