Peru truck crash kills 51 people

LIMA (AFP) - At least 51 people were killed when a truck fell off a cliff in southeastern Peru, local officials said on Saturday, updating a previous toll count.

The crash was the third such incident nationwide this month, all occurring in the southern Andean region of the country and killing a total of 80 people.

"During rescue operations, we found two more bodies," Mr Fedia Castro, mayor of La Convencion province where the crash took place, was quoted as saying by the Andina official news agency.

Local prosecutor Juan Carlos Valverde said none of the truck's occupants survived. A previous toll had put the number of dead at 49.

The victims included at least 12 children, and officials were investigating whether the driver, who died with his wife and children, was drunk at the time of the accident.

People often travel by truck in the region due to a shortage of buses, Mr Castro said.

The truck tumbled 300m in a remote area near the town of Suyucuyo and was carrying revelers.

Deadly crashes are commonplace in Peru, where poorly maintained roads zigzag up and down the towering Andes.

Worsening the problem, drivers are often inexperienced and buses are known to break down frequently.

In the last week, two other deadly crashes in southern Peru took 19 and 10 lives, respectively.

More than 4,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2012, according to official statistics.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.