A passenger bus tumbled off a mountain road in central Peru and came to rest in a gorge, killing at least 25 people on board, the state news agency reported Tuesday.

The accident occurred late Monday in the highland Jaucan district about 190 miles southeast of the capital, Lima.

The bus was reportedly carrying merchants to the highland city of Huancayo, where they planned to sell their wares at a local market.

Flor de Maria Santa Cruz, a municipal employee in the town of Colcabamba, near where the accident took place, told The Associated Press that at least 15 bodies had been recovered and that other victims were still not accounted for.

Buses in Peru often are poorly maintained, and drivers frequently speed and pass each other on blind mountain curves. Even legal buses tend to be 10 to 15 years old and run-down.

Overall, some 557 people were killed in bus accidents in Peru between July 2004 and June 2005, according the Center for Investigation of Overland Transport.