Bus accident kills 41 in Ecuador

2010-12-25 12:01
Quito - Families in Ecuador on Saturday were mourning victims of a Christmas Eve road accident, in which a bus plunged into a steep ravine, killing at least 41, including seven children.

Rescue officials said around 30 passengers had survived, but had been injured, some of them badly.

"There's been a very serious accident with approximately 41 people killed," National Transport Council (CNT) director Ricardo Anton told reporters.

Earlier reports put the death toll at 35.

Fernando Gandarillas, a spokesperson for the Ecuadoran Red Cross, said the bus had fallen into a ravine as it negotiated a descent.

It was travelling on Friday from the capital Quito to the eastern towns of Chone and San Isidro, a trip of more than 250km, he said.

A police chief from a nearby town of El Carmen, Diego Iniguez, told journalists the bus had been filled over capacity and appeared to have experienced a gearbox problem before the driver lost control.

President Rafael Correa denounced "the irresponsibility of the driver who crashed with more than 70 passengers" on board.

Highway 'well designed'


"He picked up passengers along the road, which is prohibited," Correa told a Christmas meeting with his staff.

"It's a well-designed highway," he added.

One survivor told television station Ecuavisa that just before the accident a woman at the front of the bus had started screaming that the driver could not shift gears.

He said the driver appeared to attempt to keep control of the vehicle, but failed and the bus rolled over for about 200m before hitting a tree then dropping into the ravine.

Another survivor, Juan Pablo Alcivar, told Radio Quito how the bus's gears were heard grinding as the driver tried to downshift.

The police traffic accident service said it was at the scene of the carnage to try to determine what went wrong.

The injured were taken to several hospitals in the area, while the bodies were piled up inside police vans and delivered to morgues.

The bus belonged to the east Ecuadoran coach company Reina del Camino. CNT director Anton said its operations had been suspended.

Christmas gatherings

"There was a terrible mistake made in this accident," Anton told reporters.

He was asking police for "the reason the bus was allowed to leave with too many passengers", he added.

The accident occurred on a busy day on the South American nation's roads, as thousands of Ecuadorans streamed back to home towns to share in family Christmas gatherings.

The country has a poor road safety record, and Ecuadorans are known for their aggressive driving habits.

Attorney General Washington Pesantez said there was a traffic death on average every three hours, generating $500m in costs to society every year.

In August a coach fell into a 100m ravine in southern Ecuador, killing 38 people and injuring 12.

Road accidents were the second-biggest cause of death in the country of 13 million people.

The government, which has been running a driver awareness campaign, says 3 000 fatalities were recorded this year to November, in 43 000 reported accidents.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ecuador  |  accidents
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.