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Brazil bus plunges into ravine, killing dozens

Rescue workers in Brazil are trying to reach any survivors after a bus plunged 400 meters off a ridge in the country's south. The driver is believed to have lost control in a sharp bend.

Authorities now say at least 49 people died when a bus fell into a ravine in a mountainous area of Brazil's southern Santa Catarina state on Saturday.

The death toll was initially 30, but rescuers are continuing to find bodies at the hard-to-reach crash site. Fifty passengers were supposed to be on the bus, but authorities believe that number to be higher.

The driver is believed to have lost control of the vehicle, which was carrying around 50 passengers, on a curvy stretch of highway.

"There are people out there, on the hill, in the bus, trapped in the wreckage. But the chances of finding someone alive are pretty slim," said Nelson Coelho, a lieutenant colonel in the military police of Santa Catarina.

More than 40,000 Brazilians are killed in traffic accidents each year. The country has also seen an increase in road accidents in recent years as more cars are in use.

jr/gsw (AFP, dpa)