A bus convoy transporting approximately 51 police officers fell from a bridge in the northern province of Salta killing at least 41 officers early this morning. There are 10 survivors, four of whom are currently hospitalized.
The bus had been traveling on Route 34 near Balboa, approximately 15 kilometers from Rosario de la Frontera, when it fell approximately 20 meters from the bridge and into the dry riverbed of the Balboa River below. The cause of the accident is still unclear, though Gustavo Solís, mayor of Rosario de la Frontera, told press that the road’s conditions were certainly to blame.
“We still don’t know what caused the accident, but the road’s disrepair is definitely to blame. Perhaps the driver lost control of the vehicle… but the fatal element was that the accident occurred in an area where there is a dry river bed,” Solís said.
“The road is totally destroyed.”
According to a national police press release, the convoy had been traveling from Santiago del Estero to San Salvador de Jujuy, near the Bolivian border.
Route 34 is popularly referred to as “The highway of death” (La ruta de la muerte) due to the number of fatal accidents that occur on its nearly 1,500-kilometer stretch. It begins in the city of Rosario and covers the provinces of Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy.
“The road’s terrible condition is a problem we’ve had for a long time. The area is covered in potholes and those of us who know the area try to only travel by day. At night, you can’t see the holes,” Solís said.
Upon hearing of the news this morning, President Mauricio Macri commented that:
“This is why we have to improve our roads, so that this doesn’t keep on happening.”