At least 41 police officers killed in Argentina bus accident

Vehicle in convoy tumbles off bridge into creek bed near city of Salta

Gendarmerie at a demonstration in Buenos Aires in April 2014. Tuesday’s road accident victims were with the  National Gendarmerie, a special police force typically charged with patrolling frontier regions. Photograph: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

Gendarmerie at a demonstration in Buenos Aires in April 2014. Tuesday’s road accident victims were with the National Gendarmerie, a special police force typically charged with patrolling frontier regions. Photograph: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

 

At least 41 police officers have been killed after a bus in a convoy in northern Argentina fell off the side of a bridge.

The bus was one of three carrying police near Salta, a city about 1,500km north of Buenos Aires.

The vehicle flipped and fell off the bridge, landing about 20 metres below.

A statement issued by the National Gendarmerie, a special police force typically charged with patrolling frontier regions, said: “For reasons that are still unknown, the bus lost control while entering the bridge and fell into the creek bed below.”

Local television images showed rescue crews working around the overturned bus, which authorities said was carrying about 60 people.

Gustavo Diaz, head of a group of volunteer firefighters in the area, told Argentine state agency Telam that 20 police were severely injured and were being treated in area hospitals.

The group was heading to the province of Jujuy, the country’s most northern region that borders Bolivia.

The government announced that security minister Patricia Bullrich and National Gendarmerie director Omar Ariel Kannemann were travelling to the scene.

The crash comes as President Mauricio Macri begins his first full week in office. He issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the victims.

“It’s for this reason that we need to improve the roads so that this doesn’t happen keep happening,” the statement read.