Bus Crash Kills 49 in Peru

A bus careened off a mountain road into a river gorge, killing 49 people and injuring 15 others, police said.

The accident occurred Sunday afternoon in the Andean jungle, 345 kilometers (215 miles) northeast of Lima (search), said Police Officer Juan Siu Gomez via telephone from Aguaytia, a town near the crash site, who spoke to reporters Monday.

The bus was headed from Lima to the jungle town of Pucallpa (search), about 500 kilometers (300 miles) to the northeast, police said.

Siu Gomez said 26 people died in the crash, but Police Capt. Omar Martin told The Associated Press from Pucallpa later Monday that the number of dead had risen to 49 after rescue workers pulled victims from the bus, which was submerged in the Yurac River (search).

Peru's leading daily newspaper, El Comercio, reported Monday that survivors told authorities the driver lost control of the bus in a heavy rainstorm as he sped across a bridge.

Bus crashes are common in Peru, where drivers frequently speed and pass vehicles along blind mountain curves.