At least 33 people died and more than 20 were injured when a bus carrying migrants fell off a cliff. in the early hours of this Wednesday in the Gualaca area, in western Panama.
The largest firefighter in the province of Chiriquí, Edilberto Armuelles, specified that in the accident, which occurred at 4:30 am (local time), at least 33 people died and another 23 were injured.
Among the injured there are at least five minors, two of them with serious injuries, according to local media reports.
No details on the identity of the deceased have yet been released. According to the available information, 66 migrants in transit were traveling in the transport who were in shelters in the province of Darién, on the border with Colombiaand were transferred to another in Chiriquí, on the border with Costa Rica.
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Panama, where 248,284 irregular migrants traveling to North America arrived last year after crossing the Darién jungle, an unprecedented number, receives these travelers at stations where they take their biometric data and offer them health and food assistance, after which they are transferred by bus to the border with Costa Rica so that they can continue on their way.
“We had several years that these accidents with buses and fatalities did not occur“, the Deputy Commissioner for Traffic of the National Police, Emiliano Otero, told ‘EFE’.
The Government of Panama provides all medical attention to the injured
The Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino, confirmed that both Panamanian nationals and “migrants who were in transit” throughout the country. Pino regretted this “intentional act, which nobody wants” to happen, and stated that we must wait for the results of the investigations to know precisely what caused the accident.
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The first versions indicate that the driver of the bus tried to make a turn on the road, but lost control, collided with another and fell into the ravine. The Panamanian president, Laurentino Cortizo, expressed his “much sadness” at this event and stated that “the Government of Panama provides all medical attention to the wounded.”
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