A bus carrying police officers drove off a bridge in northern Argentina Monday, falling into a ravine, officials said, AFP reported. At least 41 officers died in the accident, and several more were injured.
The bus, which had 60 border control officers on board, was part of a group of three traveling near Salta, a province about 932 miles north of Buenos Aires, the Associated Press reported. Officials said the bus fell about 20 meters, or 65 feet.
“For reasons that are still unknown, the bus lost control while entering the bridge and fell into the creek bed below,” the National Gendarmerie, a special police force typically charged with patrolling frontier regions, said in a statement.
Local television stations showed rescue crews working to free trapped officers from the overturned bus. There were multiple reports of how many officers had been hospitalized Monday as responders continued to work at the scene. Gustavo Diaz, the head of a group of volunteer firefighters in the area, told Argentine state news agency Telam that 20 police officers were severely injured and were being treated in area hospitals, AP reported.
Argentina’s newly elected president, Mauricio Macri, who is beginning his first week in office, sent his condolences to the officers' relatives. “The Argentine people must stand with these families,” he said.
Roads in Argentina, which is about four times as large as Texas, are often not well-maintained in rural areas such as Salta. Gustavo Solis, mayor of the town of Rosario de la Frontera, said the road where the accident occurred was known to be in poor condition, AFP reported. “Those of us who know the area try to avoid driving at night,” he said.
“It's for this reason that we need to improve the roads so that this doesn't keep happening,” Macri said in his statement.