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Bus accident kills 20 in northeast Brazil

19 may 2014, 12:12
©Reuters/Paulo Whitaker
©Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

Twenty people were killed and 17 injured when the bus they were traveling in overturned Sunday in northeastern Brazil, AFP reports citing officials.

The bus driver, who survived the accident, said a motorcyclist traveling in front of him had suddenly braked, and that he lost control of the vehicle as he tried to avoid hitting the biker.

"Eighteen people died at the scene of the accident and two others in the hospital," said a spokesman for the town of Caninde in Ceara state, where the crash occurred.

The bus, operated by Viacao Princesa dos Inhamuns, had a capacity of about 50 passengers.

But media reports said the company was unable to confirm how many people were on board at the time because some passengers may have gotten off at stops along the way.

The bus was traveling from the city of Boa Viagem to Fortaleza, the state capital and one of 12 cities that will host the World Cup in Brazil from June 12 to July 13.

About 50,000 people died on Brazilian roads last year, according to police estimates published in January. On a per-capita basis, that is two and a half times the average traffic death rate in Europe.

Brazil has adopted UN targets stipulating it should aim to halve traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.

The road deaths are similar to the number of homicides -- 47,100 in 2012 -- in one of the world's most violent countries.

Police blame excess speed, reckless overtaking, drunken driving and the poor state of repair of many highways for the vast majority of traffic accidents.

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