Bus plunges into Costa Rican ravine, killing at least nine people

At least nine people were killed and four missing when a bus and two other vehicles plunged into a ravine in a mountainous part of Costa Rica, the Red Cross reported on Sunday.

The bus, car and motorcycle slipped 75 meters deep (245 feet) ravine on saturday when heavy rain caused a landslide at El Hundimiento mountain pass, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital San Jose.

The emergency services extracted about fifty survivors, including the bus driver, from the throat, according to the Costa Rican social security in charge of the country’s public health services.

“At this time we know of nine people who had no vital signs,” the Red Cross tweeted after the accident, adding that four people were still missing.

The bus was traveling between San José and the province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica with 47 people on board, the owner of the transport company, German Alfaro, told the Costa Rican daily La Nacion.

The Red Cross had previously estimated the number of passengers at around 60.

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Footage shared by rescue services showed the wreckage of the bus at the bottom of the ravine in a mountainous region of Costa Rica where recovery efforts were particularly difficult.

Locals said the accident was caused by a lack of protective barriers or signage along the road.

“We have been abandoned for years,” Gilber Martinez told Canal 7 television.

But the government called the incident “unpredictable”.

“It’s not the fault of the government or the bus company. It’s something we can’t predict,” Public Works and Transport Minister Luis Amador said.

Specialists from the University of Costa Rica published a report in March warning of the risk of road collapses in the region.

Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves declared three days of national mourning and said he would not attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York due to the emergency in his country caused by heavy rains.