LIMA – Twenty people have been confirmed dead when a double-decker bus caught on fire in Lima, the capital, on Sunday.
At least eight eight others were injured in the blaze that erupted at a bus stop in the San Martin de Porres neighborhood.
According to Peru21 news outlet and local TV channel Canal N, the bus was en route from Lima to the northern city of Chiclayo.
Witnesses say the fire started at the rear of the vehicle and quickly spread to its interior.
Most of the dead were killed in the upper deck of the bus, officials say. It was not immediately clear how many people were on the bus.
One unidentified man, broken by grief, told local television that he had lost six family members including his wife, children and grandchildren.
The cause of the accident has yet to be determined, a spokesman from the fire department was quoted by Canal N as saying.
Authorities say the vehicle did not have any fire extinguishers.
Tragedia en Perú. Incendio de bus interprovincial dejó al menos 20 muertos esta noche en localidad de San Martín de Porres. Fuego empezó en parte de atrás del bus, personas fallecieron al quedar atrapadas en estrecho pasadizo y escalera entre primero y segundo piso del vehículo pic.twitter.com/G7JCuKS5fH
— TCS Noticias (@tcsnoticias) April 1, 2019
Lima’s Mayor Jorge Munoz visited the injured in hospital and announced an investigation to punish those responsible.
“I am totally outraged,” he said, recalling that insecurity and other problems had led to the closure of the Fiori terminal last year.
The station is in Lima’s populous northern San Martin de Porres district, from where the bus was to depart for the northern city of Chiclayo.
Fiori was operating illegally after local authorities closed it in January 2018 for the unauthorized sale of fuel to public buses.
This is the second deadly bus accident recorded in Peru since the beginning of this year. On Jan. 25, at least 10 people were killed and 30 others injured when a passenger bus fell into a river in central Peru.