At least 15 dead, 40 injured in Brazil resort town bus crash

SAO PAULO (AFP) - At least 15 people died and 40 were injured on Sunday when a bus crashed in the Brazilian resort town of Paraty, state officials told AFP.

The accident happened on a highway linking Paraty, in Rio de Janeiro state, with the coastal area of Trinidade, a fire department spokesman said. Rescue workers and crash investigators were at the scene.

Local media reported the crash took place on a winding road on a descent known in Portuguese as "God Help Me Hill."

Brazilians were enjoying a long holiday weekend for Independence Day which is Monday. That meant more people were on the roads to take advantage of a three-day getaway to the beach.

Paraty, a Portuguese colonial-era town with a population of around 40,000, is famous for its charming architecture and idyllic environment.

It sits on the border of Brazil's two most populous states, Rio and Sao Paulo. It also is popular with foreign visitors.

About 43,000 people die each year on Brazil's roads. Before the country's economic boom cooled, accidents surged by 24 per cent between 2002 AND 2012 and about 10,000 new cars took to the roads each day.

In March, 54 people were killed when a bus taking them to a religious event plunged off a cliff in the southern state of Santa Catarina.