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More than 50 die after bus plunges off road in southern Brazil

The bus fell into a ravine while it was taking a group of evangelicals to a Christian event in the neighbouring state.

SOURCES Agencies AUTHOR Evangelical Focus RIO DE JANEIRO 16 MARCH 2015 17:30 h GMT+1
The bus, carrying about 60 people, fell 400 meters into a wooded area. / Salmo Duarte/AFP/Getty Images

At least 55 people died on Saturday when a passenger bus carrying members of an evangelical community drove off a cliff in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, police said.



According to the local newspapers “A Noticia” and “Gazeta de Joinville”, a further 11 people were injured and have multiple fractures. They have been transferred to nearby hospitals.



Initially, the military police had reported 32 killed, but later said recovery crews believed an additional 19 were dead. They also said that 41 corpses were transferred to the Legal Medical Institute of Joinville, and three children who had been rescued died in hospital.



The bus, en route from the neighbouring state of Parana, swerved off a curve and fell 400 metres before crashing in a wooded area near the city of Joinville 



It crashed on a twisting road that winds through a verdant green region in Dona Francisca mountain, a popular area  for hiking and biking in Santa Catarina state, located about 600 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro. The accident happened as night fell and difficult access to the site hampered the rescue effort.



 



A TRIP TO AN EVANGELICAL CONFERENCE



The dead include at least eight young children, three teenagers, 24 women and 14 men, the government of Santa Catarina state said in a statement earlier on Sunday. The group belonged to an evangelical community and was travelling from Uniao da Vitoria for a spiritual event near the coast in Parana state.



Although the cause of the accident is under investigation, authorities suspect the driver may have lost control on a bend, causing the bus to run off the road.



 



PRESIDENT SENDS CONDOLENCES



Later, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said the number of people confirmed killed had risen to 54, and she sent her condolences to their families. "In this hour of pain and suffering, I want to extend my sympathies to the families and friends who lost their loved ones," Rousseff said in a statement.


 

 


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