LIMA: At least 37 people have been killed after a bus swerved into oncoming traffic in Peru, leading to a multi-vehicle collision involving two other buses and a truck.
Health Minister Anibal Velasquez, who was on his way to the crash site near the northern city of Huarmey, told the accident on Monday (local time) also left 70 people injured.
Six people who were badly hurt were taken by helicopter to hospital in the capital Lima, about 300km south.
The head of the highway police, Orfiles Bravo, said a bus belonging to the Murga Serrano line had swerved into an oncoming lane on the Pan American Highway.
It was then hit by the truck and two other buses, Bravo said.
The Murga bus “was split in two”, he said.
Television images showed bodies sprawled out on the pavement after the crash.
Authorities initially gave a death toll of 22, but the health ministry said that number had increased sharply as rescue workers managed to access the wreckage.
Forty-two passengers on the Murga bus were members of a Christian evangelical church, the World Missionary Movement, who were returning from a convention in Lima.
Peruvian media reports said the injured and stranded passengers also included Haitian and Senegalese travelers.
Peru’s roads are notoriously dangerous. In the first half of last year, 1406 people were killed in road accidents. The full-year death toll was 3590 in 2013 and 4138 in 2012.