At least 41 police officers dead after bus crash in northern Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- At least 41 police officers were killed Monday when a bus in a convoy in northern Argentina went off the side of a bridge and fell 65 feet (20 metres).

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

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

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

Roads in Argentina, a large country with a land mass about four times the U.S. state of Texas, are poorly maintained in many rural areas.

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 keep happening," the statement read.



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