Many killed in Ecuador bus plunge

Image caption,
The bus was reported to be overcrowded when it plunged into the ravine

At least 35 travellers have been killed in Ecuador when their bus tumbled off the road and fell down a 150m (500ft) ravine, officials say.

Some 25 more people were injured in the crash, and at least eight of the dead were reported to be children.

The bus came off the road near the town of El Carmen in western Ecuador.

Some reports said the crash appeared to have been caused by a mechanical fault, but Red Cross workers suggested fog and rain might have played a part.

El Telegrafo newspaper quoted a survivor as saying that the bus's gear box and brakes had apparently failed.

A firefighter, Jairo Flores, told El Tiempo newspaper that the bus was travelling between the capital, Quito, and the town of Chone when it came off the road at 0400 (0900 GMT).

El Tiempo quoted the national police as saying 35 people had died, but some reports gave higher death tolls and said the number was likely to rise.

The police said the injured had been taken to a nearby health centre and that rescue work was continuing to remove the bus from the ravine.

BBC Mundo reported that the bus was supposed to carry 40 passengers, but appeared to have been overcrowded when it crashed.

A bus crash that killed 38 people in Cotopaxi province in August was said to have been the deadliest road accident in Ecuador's history.

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