Tegucigalpa: At least 14 people were killed and scores injured when a bus carrying them plunged into a ravine in western Honduras, media reports said Friday.
The accident, which occurred early in the day near the village of La Majada, along a stretch of highway in the western state of Lempira, left at least 23 people injured. Some reports placed the number of injured at 40, according to Xinhua.
"The victims were members of a Christian group that departed at 4 a.m. on an excursion from Choloma, Cortes, to Gracias, Lempira," the daily El Heraldo reported on its website.
The daily also published photos of about 50 rescue workers and volunteers preparing to retrieve the bus by a system of makeshift pulleys from the bottom of the ravine, where it lay flipped over. Preliminary reports indicated the accident was caused by excess speed coupled with wet conditions due to recent rains.
"Once again, we must lament the recklessness of drivers," the daily cited the head of the National Transit Bureau (DNT), Quintin Juarez, as saying.
According to the daily, the bus "lacked the necessary permits and inspections for carrying out excursions such as this one", which involved a group of Jehovah's Witnesses from Choloma, who were on a religious outing.
The daily added the group's religious affiliation complicated treatment of the injured, since their religion bars blood transfusions.