LIMA – Twelve police officers were killed and 13 others injured on Tuesday when their bus plunged into a ravine in the southeastern region of Apurimac, Peruvian officials told the media.
Five of the injured officers were taken by helicopter to hospitals in the city of Cuzco, regional health chief Jorge Ponce said in comments to RPP Noticias radio.
The vehicle crashed at around 5 am while transporting the police from Abancay to Antabamba, where they were to provide security for a meeting between residents and officials from the central government.
Lacking a suitable vehicle, the police command in Abancay chartered a bus operated by the firm Imperio Tours, a fact cited by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in his comments on the tragedy.
“Here in Lima, at this moment, there are brand new troop transports in storage. Instead of renting a second-rate bus that then, due to the lack of caution or fatigue of the driver, falls into the abyss, they could have traveled with confidence in a bus driven by a responsible police officer,” he said during a previously scheduled speech at the National Police Academy.
“It is a day of grief because police have died unnecessarily on a mountain road,” the president said.
The Interior Ministry subsequently confirmed that police don’t have sufficient personnel carriers and said that Kuczynski urged the military to share resources with the National Police.