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New York

Sat, 14 Dec 2019 16:27 GMT

At Least 20 Dead in Peru Bus Fire: Emergency Services


7Dnews London

Mon, 01 Apr 2019 09:12 GMT

At least 20 people were killed and about ten injured on the night of Sunday, March 31st in a bus fire at an illegal transport terminal in the Peruvian capital, emergency services said.

Firefighters said that a number of the victims burned to death, trapped on the upper level of the interprovincial bus in Lima, as reported by AFP. 

Much of the vehicle was reduced to a skeleton and the corpses of some victims could still be seen in the seats. Others asphyxiated on the stairway connecting the upper and lower levels. 

The tragedy reflected the chaos of Peru's public transport system, particularly in the capital of ten million people where authorities are overwhelmed by transport problems.

Initial reports said an electrical fault at the rear of the bus triggered the blaze just after 7.30pm (0030 GMT). Lewis Mejia, a fire department official, said, "The fire led to the deaths of at least 20 people," though authorities did not say how many people were on board.

One unidentified man, broken by grief, told local television that he had lost six family members including his wife, children and grandchildren.

Lima's Mayor Jorge Munoz visited the injured in hospital and announced an investigation to punish those responsible. He said, "I am totally outraged," recalling that insecurity and other problems had led to the closure of the Fiori terminal last year.

The station is in Lima's populous northern San Martin de Porres district, from where the bus was to depart for the northern city of Chiclayo. 

Fiori was operating illegally after local authorities closed it in January 2018 for the unauthorised sale of fuel to public buses. 

The fire is one of the worst in Lima since December 2001, when a fireworks blast caused a market blaze that killed about 300 people.

Latin America