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17 killed, mainly students, in bus accident in Peru’s Andes

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A truck carrying students home from a parade fell into a ravine in the Peru’s Andes Mountains, killing 17 people and injuring 33, authorities said Monday.

Five of the injured are in “grave condition” following the accident Sunday near the remote community of Cahuac, 263 kilometers (163 miles) northeast of the capital, Lima, said hospital director Rosa Pascual. Fifteen of the dead were students aged 9 to 15.

The truck was returning from a flag day parade when it fell 300 meters (985 feet) into the ravine, said Huanuco Gov. Ruben Alva.

School director Yonel Espinoza said the students decided to get in the back of the truck because they wanted to avoid the 90-minute walk from the parade site back to Cahuac, where they lived.

Peru’s transport system is plagued by old vehicles and poor roads and highways, often through mountainous regions, contributing to a high accident rate. According to the Transport Minister, 3,110 people died in road accidents in Peru in 2013.

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