At least 17 people were killed and 23 injured today when a bus veered into oncoming traffic to pass another vehicle and slammed head-on into a truck outside the Chilean capital.
Both vehicles plunged off the highway near Santiago and down into a ravine. Authorities said the toll could rise given the serious nature of some of the injuries and the fact two people were still missing.
"The death toll has risen to 17... and nine patients are in critical condition," said Health Minister Jaime Manalich.
Rodrigo Albarran, an executive of the Turbus company, said the bus had left the small coastal town of Llo-lleo heading for Santiago with 24 people aboard.
As it picked up and dropped off passengers along the way it was not immediately clear how many were aboard at the time of the crash.
The drivers of both vehicles were killed, along with several bus passengers, many of whom were workers and students headed to the capital.
Authorities said an investigation into the accident was under way.