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Peru bus crash leaves 46 dead

At least 46 people have been killed after a coach plummeted 100m (330ft) down a cliff and landed upside down on a beach in Peru.

The bus was carrying 57 passengers to Peru’s capital when it was struck by a tractor trailer shortly before noon and plunged down the slope, said Claudia Espinoza from Peru’s voluntary firefighter brigade on Tuesday.

The blue bus came to rest upside down on a narrow strip of shore next to the Pacific, the lifeless bodies of passengers strewn among the rocks.

“There is a large number of fatal victims,” Col Dino Escudero told RPP radio.

Rescuers were working to pull victims from the hard-to-reach area in Pasamayo, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Lima.

No road leads directly to the beach, complicating rescue efforts, Espinoza said, though police and firefighters managed to transport five survivors with serious injuries to a nearby hospital.

Traffic accidents are common along Peru’s roadways, with more than 2,600 people killed in 2016. More than three dozen died when three buses and a truck collided in 2015 on the main costal highway. Twenty people were killed in November when a bus plunged off a bridge into a river in the southern Andes.

Espinoza said the passengers in Tuesday’s crash included many who were returning to Lima after celebrating the New Year’s holiday with family outside the city.

The highway is known as the Devil’s Curve because it is narrow, frequently shrouded in mist and curves along a cliff that has seen numerous accidents.