SANTIAGO – At least six people died and 37 were injured before dawn in northern Chile when an intercity bus crashed into a truck, authorities said.
Fifteen of the injured are in critical condition and have been admitted to hospitals in Pozo Almonte and Iquique.
Three of the fatalities were of Argentine nationality and the other two, the occupants of the truck, were Paraguayans.
The accident occurred minutes before 4 a.m. south of Pozo Almonte, at some 1,750 kilometers (1,087 miles) from Santiago, where for reasons still being investigated, the bus crashed into the back end of the car-carrying truck and trailer with Paraguayan license plates.
The truck was traveling in a caravan of four similar vehicles headed for the free port at Iquique to pick up some cars and transport them to Paraguay.
One of the car-carrying trucks had a mechanical breakdown, so the others stopped to help the driver. Unfortunately they blocked almost half the road, and since it was night and they didn’t use the right security measures, the bus driver couldn’t see them in the dark,” said the fire chief of Pozo Almonte, Efrain Lillo.
The bus was traveling from the city of Calama to Iquique.
Several of the injured were trapped in the bus wreckage and firefighters had to work almost two hours to free them.