23 killed in Peru bus disaster

23 killed in Peru bus disaster

At least 23 people have been killed when a bus trying to avoid an oncoming truck drove off a highway in a remote area of south eastern Peru and tumbled into a river.

Local police commander Jorge Pastor said a further 35 people were injured in the crash on Friday on a stretch of highway between Cusco and Puerto Maldonado.

A preliminary investigation by police showed that an oncoming truck crossed into the bus's lane and the bus driver swerved to avoid it, causing the vehicle to leave the road and fall more than 20 metres into the Mapacho River.

Officers said most of the passengers were travelling from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco to cast their ballots in Sunday's presidential election.

Voting is obligatory in Peru and those who do not participate can be fined.

Peru suffered its worst traffic accident in 30 years in the Cusco area as well when a bus turned over in 2013, killing 52 people.

In 2014 alone, 2,798 people died in traffic accidents throughout Peru, according to government statistics.

The figures from 2015 and early 2016 are not yet available.