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Road crash in Peru kills 51 Quechua partygoers

All passengers on board a makeshift bus in southeast Peru have been killed when the vehicle plunged into a deep ravine. Lack of public transport has made travel in the Andes mountain region hazardous.

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Dozens die in Peru truck accident

There were 51 people from a Quechua Indian community, including 14 children, on board a cargo truck when it went off the road and into a ravine in southeast Peru on Friday night. The vehicle fell 200 meters to the Chaupimayo river below.

The passengers were returning from a party in the provincial capital of Santa Teresa.

Rescuers, some just equipped with torchlights, searched through the night for survivors. "We haven't found a single survivor," said firefighter Captain David Taboada, who led the rescue operation.

The cause of the accident was not known but Taboada said a lot of alcohol had been consumed at the party attended by the passengers. Officials are investigating whether the driver, who died with his wife and children, was drunk at the time of the accident.

The bodies were taken to a nearby football pitch. Relatives came to identify family members throughout Saturday.

Last year, more than 4,000 people, mostly poor farmers, were killed in similar accidents. There is no public transport in this isolated, high-altitude part of the Andes mountains, 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the capital, Lima and trucks are often turned into makeshift buses. In the last week, two other deadly crashes in the region killed 29 people.

jm/av (AFP, AP)

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