At least 44 dead as bus plunges off cliff in Peru (VIDEO)

LIMA – A double-deck bus veered off the Panamerican Highway and tumbled about 200 meters (650 feet) down a cliff in southern Peru on Wednesday, killing at least 44 people.

The death toll is likely to rise amid rescue work.

About two dozen people were injured. Some were flown to hospitals in military helicopters.

The bus operated by the Rey Latino line ran off the road in Arequipa shortly after midnight near the mouth of the Ocona River on Peru’s southern Pacific coast.

The cause wasn’t immediately known, but accidents caused by reckless driving on poorly maintained mountain roads claim dozens of lives every year in Peru.

52 killed in Peru’s deadliest road accident

Last month, fifty-two people were killed in the South American country’s worst road fatality in four decades.