Peru truck crash: 17 dead and 54 injured after vehicle carrying school children falls off cliff

The truck was only 15 minutes from its destination

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A tipper truck carrying dozens of school children has fallen from a cliff in the Peruvian Andes, killing 17 people and injuring 54.

The vehicle was returning from the highland province of Cahuac, 160miles (260km) northeast of Lima, where children had taken part in a Sunday parade, said Ruben Alva, governor of the Huanuco region.

As driver attempted to steer the truck around an uphill curve on a dirt road, the group rolled backwards over the cliff, he added.

“It dropped into a ravine, falling for about 100 meters,” Alva said. “They were close to home, maybe 15 minutes away.”

Several schoolchildren, a teacher and parents were among the dead, Alva said.

The driver of the truck who survived the ordeal is being held by police, and faces an investigation, Alva said.

Fatal road accidents are common in Peru, as passenger limits are largely unenforced and many rural routes are rugged.

Poor road safety is exacerbated by high poverty in highland areas, and townsfolk are forced to pile onto farm and construction vehicles to get between towns due to a lack of public transportation.

However, Alva said it was not normal for the municipality to use a dump truck to transport locals.

In March, at least 37 people died and more than 80 people were injured after three buses and a freezer truck collided on a busy highway in Peru.

Additional reporting by