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Bus accident in Chile kills 12

A bus carrying tourists from a cruise ship plunged more than 100 meters into a mountain ravine in northern Chile.

india Updated: Mar 23, 2006 14:25 IST

A bus carrying tourists from a cruise ship plunged more than 100 meters into a mountain ravine in northern Chile, killing 12 US citizens and seriously injuring two others, officials said.

The Chilean bus driver and a guide were also injured in Wednesday's accident along a rugged highway near the Pacific port city of Arica, 1,250 miles north of Santiago. The identities of the victims were not immediately know. The tourists were returning to their Bahamas-registered Millennium cruise ship after visiting the nearby Lauca National Park when the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle trying to avoid an oncoming truck that was rounding a curve, according to Juan Pablo Poli, a spokesman the city of Arica.

Poli said two Americans were in serious condition at a local hospital. A third injured American died, raising the death toll to 12.

"We have confirmed that all the victims were American citizens," he said. "Autopsies will be conducted during the night so the bodies can be sent home as soon as possible, probably by air from Santiago."

He said the bus had a capacity of 16 passengers and "was totally destroyed as it fell more than 100 meters." The accident took place 42 kilometers northeast of Arica on the road to the Bolivian capital of La Paz, he said. The ship was scheduled to leave for Peru early Monday, but the departure was postponed following the accident, police said. He said it isn't clear when it will leave.

First Published: Mar 23, 2006 08:32 IST