38 pilgrims killed in Argentina bus accident
A bus carrying Catholic pilgrims plunged into a gorge in western Argentina, killing 38 people and injuring 27 others, authorities said yesterday.
Police were investigating survivor accounts that the bus had lost its brakes shortly before barreling off the road and tumbling more than 90 metres Sunday night.
The accident took place in Catamarca province bordering the Andes mountains in a remote area some 900 km northwest of Buenos Aires.
The bus, which was headed back from a religious shrine in Catamarca to the neighbouring province of Tucuman, was carrying 72 people, police said. Several of the victims were children, whose bodies were taken to a morgue, according to the local news agency Noticias Argentinas.
A survivor, Walter Gonzalez, told Noticias Argentinas that the driver shouted at everyone just before the crash, "Hang on, I've lost my brakes!"
"I don't know how we escaped," Gonzalez added, saying he was one of the first to climb back up the mountainside to seek help.
Many of the pilgrims had just visited a religious shrine set amid grottos in Catamarca, one of Argentina's poorest provinces.
Nuestra Seņora la Virgen del Valle, Catamarca, Argentina
Catamarca Province (Argentina)
17 Sep 2002