Update: 1:44 p.m. There were 31 passengers aboard the bus that were traveling to the Maleku indigenous reserve in Guatuso, Alajuela, a Universidad Nacional spokesperson said at a press conference. “They’re responsible retirees that have dedicated themselves to social work and the good of the community,” Universidad Nacional rector Alberto Salom told AFP.
Local reports have quoted Traffic Police director Mario Calderón as saying the driver of the bus is among the 12 dead. He was identified by the last names Mora Vargas.
Update: 1:00 p.m. There are now 12 confirmed deaths related to the Thursday morning bus crash on a notoriously curvy section of road in Cinchona, according to local media reports. Multiple witnesses have told television reporters that the brakes failed on the bus and the driver was not able to stop before going over the road’s edge.
Original story continues here:
A bus crashed off a highway in Cinchona, Alajuela Thursday morning, leaving 11 passengers dead and 16 more critically injured. A spokesman from the Red Cross confirmed that the bus, which was carrying retirees connected to the Universidad Nacional in Heredia, fell 20 meters into a ravine below around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
The spokesman said that the injured people onboard were all taken to nearby hospitals. He said that all the passengers were believed to be Costa Rican nationals.
The cause of the accident is unknown. The spokesman was unable to confirm whether or not the driver of the bus survived the accident.
Six Red Cross units arrived on the scene immediately after the accident alert came in, the spokesman said. Cinchona is located just east of Poás Volcano, the country’s most visited national park.
Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís released a brief statement via Twitter on Thursday morning: “I express a deep anguish over the tragic accident in Cinchona this morning. The loss of lives unites us in solidarity.”
Expreso mi profundo dolor ante el trágico accidente en Cinchona esta mañana. Las pérdidas de vidas nos unen en solidaridad.
— Luis Guillermo Solís (@luisguillermosr) October 20, 2016
11 personas fallecen tras accidente de autobús en Nueva #Cinchona https://t.co/D9WgFg0x8D vía @rtnnoticias13
📸 @WazeCR pic.twitter.com/TB8gDOiF7h
— Julieta Cambronero M (@Jucammol) October 20, 2016
The Tico Times will continue updating this article as more information becomes available.