Authorities say that as many as 27 people have been killed after a bus crashed off of a road and into a ravine in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.
The death toll was confirmed in a press conference held by the state’s Interior Minister Jesús Romero, who explained that 13 men, 13 women and one infant boy were among the fatalities.
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Reports of the numbers injured varied, with Romero indicating that an additional 21 people had been hurt. State prosecutor Bernardo Rodríguez Alamilla, meanwhile, told the news outlet AFP that 17 people were wounded.
The bus had been travelling from Mexico City to Yosondua when it veered off a highway near the city of Magdalena Penasco. It landed in a ravine that was nearly 25 metres (80 feet) deep, according to officials.
“In view of the tragic accident this morning in the town of Magdalena Penasco of a bus from CDMX heading to Santiago Yosondua #Mixteca, motorists who circulate in the area are asked to exercise extreme caution and give way to traffic,” Oaxaca State Highway Police director Toribio Lopez Sanchez said in a post on Twitter.
Ante el trágico accidente de esta mañana en la población de Magdalena Peñasco de un autobús procedente de la CDMX y q' se dirigía a Santiago Yosondua #Mixteca, se le pide a los automovilistas que circulan por la zona extremar precauciones y ceder el paso a los cuerpos de rescate. pic.twitter.com/oJbi2eytVO
— Toribio López Sánchez. (@ToryLopezS) July 5, 2023
“We deeply regret the accident that occurred in Magdalena Penasco,” Oaxaca state Governor Salomón Jara Cruz wrote on social media on Wednesday.
“Our government personnel are already working on the rescue operation and to provide all the support to the injured people.”
Photos shared on social media by law enforcement show damaged metal railing on the side of the road, as well as the contorted wreckage of the bus surrounded by emergency workers and what appear to be bodies covered in sheets at the bottom of the ravine.
La @PolVial_GobOax apoya las labores de rescate en el km 16+300 de la carretera a Magdalena Peñasco, #Tlaxiaco, ante el trágico accidente de un autobús que se dirigía a Yosondúa en la #Mixteca #Oaxaca
— Policía Vial Estatal (@PolVial_GobOax) July 5, 2023
The incident is one of the latest cases of deadly crashes that have killed dozens of people in regions of southern Mexico, underscoring the hazards of steep and windy roads where fatalities are frequent.
In April, 18 people died when a bus drove off a cliff in western Mexico. In December 2021, a truck carrying about 166 people crashed in the state of Chiapas, killing 54 people and injuring dozens of others.
Those killed in the December 2021 incident were largely migrants packed tightly into the truck, underscoring the perilous conditions that migrants often face when trying to clandestinely travel through Latin American countries such as Mexico.