A tour bus and semi-truck have collided and burst into flames on a mountain road in eastern Mexico‘s Veracruz state, killing at least 21 people and injuring 30 others, according to officials.
The accident on Wednesday took place on a highway in a region known as the Maltrata hills, where the roads wind between peaks that rise more than 2,000 meters above sea level.
Emergency officials at the scene said one of the vehicles lost its brakes going downhill and crashed into the other, causing both to catch fire and leaving the bus a charred frame lying on its side.
Most of the victims were pilgrims from the southern state of Chiapas who were on their way back from a trip to a Roman Catholic shrine at Mexico City, according to the head of the Civil Protection service for the state of Veracruz, Guadalupe Osorno.
“The forensics experts at the scene report 17 bodies of passengers who were traveling in the bus, plus two people who died in the semi-truck,” she said.
“One person was dead on arrival at the hospital, and another who was in serious condition died.”
The Catholic archdiocese of Tuxtla Gutierrez, in Chiapas, sent its condolences to the victims’ loved ones in a statement.
“We deeply regret the deaths caused by this accident and share in their families’ overwhelming pain,” it said.
In April 2006, a bus carrying religious pilgrims in the same area ran off the highway and tumbled down a steep ravine, killing 65 people.