Brazil bus crash claims 50 lives

Sao Paulo: A tourist bus plunged 400 metres into a ravine in Santa Catarina province of Brazil claiming 50 lives, police said on Sunday. The victims of Saturday's bus crash comprised eight children, three adolescents, 24 women and 15 men.

Ten people were being treated at nearby hospitals, Xinhua reported citing police. The toll was initially been put at 32, and then raised to 43 but the number rose throughout the night as rescuers continued to find bodies at the difficult-to-access crash site in Santa Catarina of southern Brazil.

The number of casualties might further increase, as police have not yet ascertained the exact number of people on the bus when it crashed, according to Xinhua. Rescue efforts were on to search for survivors and recover bodies.

According to a preliminary investigation, the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn, causing it to veer off the road. Highway and weather conditions at the time were good, a police spokesperson said. The accident happened just 10 km away from the destination of the bus in the city of Joinville.

The incident might be the worst bus accident so far in Santa Catarina. In 2000, an Argentinean bus crashed in Santa Catarina, killing 42 people. The country averages more than 18 highway deaths per 100,000 people per year, compared with only about 10 in high-income countries, according to a report by the Inter-American Development Bank.

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