Dozens killed after bus careens over 'Devil's Curve' cliff in Peru

At least 48 people died and at least three are missing after a bus crashed over the side of a cliff Tuesday while driving on a road in Peru, local authorities said.

57 people were on the bus and traveling to Lima, Peru's capital, when the vehicle was hit by a tractor-trailer rig, sending it over the side of a cliff, according to Claudia Espinoza with the volutary firefighter brigade.

The bus landed upside down on a rocky beach in Pasamayo, which is north of Lima and borders the Pacific Ocean. The highway is known as the "Devil's Curve" because it is narrow, frequently shrouded in mist and curves along a cliff that has seen numerous accidents.

Rescue workers surround an injured man on a stretcher who was lifted up from the crash site on the beach.

Rescue workers surround an injured man on a stretcher who was lifted up from the crash site on the beach. (Vidal Tarky, Andina News Agency via AP)

Police Col. Dino Escudero told local radio company RPP that there is "a large number of fatal victims."

Escudero said the driver lost control of the vehicle due to the collision and authorities have opened an investigation into the incident, BBC reported.

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Rescuers were working to pull victims from the hard-to-reach area. BBC reported that a helicopter was also being used to rescue people.

Rescue workers load an injured man on a stretcher after he was retrieved from the bus.

Rescue workers load an injured man on a stretcher after he was retrieved from the bus. (Vidal Tarky/Andina News Agency via AP)

There aren't any roads leading directly to the beach, complicating rescue efforts, Espinoza said. However, police and firefighters managed to transport six survivors with serious injuries to nearby hospitals.

Many of the passengers involved were returning to the city after celebrating New Year's with family outside the city.

Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski released a statement Tuesday saying, "It's very sad for us as a country to suffer an accident of this magnitude."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.