Bus passengers ‘were burnt to death’

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iol pic wld_MEXICO-CRASH-_0413_11

Reuters

Forensic workers recover a body from a charred bus at the scene of an accident on a highway near Juan Rodriguez Clara town, in Veracruz state. Picture: Angel Hernandez

Veracruz, Mexico -

A passenger bus slammed into a broken-down truck and burst into flames, killing at least 36 people on Sunday in southern Mexico, the Veracruz state government reported.

Both state and federal officials said that four people survived the crash, which occurred shortly after midnight in the south-eastern state of Veracruz.

A communique from the state civil defence agency said the victims were business people from the region who were travelling from the Tabasco state capital of Villahermosa to Mexico City.

The agency's emergency director, Ricardo Maza Limon, said the victims apparently burned to death inside the bus, which was so badly charred that the tyres melted and the markings on its sides were unreadable.

The federal highway department, which earlier gave the death toll as 34, said the three-axle bus was on a highway in the area of Acayucan when it struck a five-axle tractor-trailer owned by a milk protein company that had broken down and was parked along the roadside.

Via Twitter, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sent his condolences to the families of those who died.

The state government of Tabasco said it was setting up an attention centre for the families of the victims.

The centre's operations co-ordinator, Dr Teresa Hernandez Marin, said the centre will provide social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists to help people.

Hernandez said experts will start identifying the bodies overnight, using DNA tests when necessary. - Sapa-AP


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