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SERVICES 
Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 17:21 GMT
Peru bus crash kills 35
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At least 35 people have been burned to death when a bus crashed into a petrol station and burst into flames on a major motorway in southern Peru.


We are still working to remove the wreckage

Fire department spokesman
The accident took place at about 0400 (0900 GMT) during an overnight storm in the coastal town of Chincha, 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of the capital, Lima.

The bus with about 60 people on board was travelling from the city of Ayacucho, in the Peruvian Andes, to Lima, on the Pan-American Highway.

Police and rescue teams say the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel causing the bus to skid out of control, hitting the petrol pumps and flipping over.

Search for bodies

Noemi Carbajo, a coroner in Chincha, said 35 charred bodies, most of them unrecognisable, had been taken to the town's morgue.

Police said the bus driver, a backup driver, their assistant and four passengers survived unhurt and helped the emergency services rescue 18 passengers who were burned and had to be hospitalised.

Emilio Merino, a spokesman for Chincha police, said rescuers were searching in the wreckage for more bodies because the bus driver was not certain of the number of passengers on board.

"We are still working to remove the wreckage," a spokesman for the firefighters said.

See also:

07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Peru
21 Feb 02 | Americas
Timeline: Peru
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