A bus crash in the Pacific port city of Arica, Chile, that killed 12 American tourists in March has prompted Chilean federal officials to step up bus inspections.
The tourists, passengers from a Celebrity Cruises ship docked in Arica, were returning from an excursion to Lauca National Park in the Andes when the driver swerved to avoid an approaching truck, causing the bus to tumble 300 feet down a steep mountainside, said Juan Carlos Poli, an Arica city hall spokesman. Of the 16 passengers, four were hospitalized in serious condition, along with the driver, who is expected to be charged with vehicular homicide, if he recovers.
Located 1,250 miles north of Santiago, Arica is a popular docking destination for cruise ships and has seen an influx of small bus companies vying to transport passengers to local attractions. Since the crash, federal officials have been inspecting buses and turning away those without proper paperwork.
Hoping to stave off any repercussions from the tourism industry, Alvaro Palma Quiroz, Arica’s provincial governor, met with police officials and tour operators to find ways to ensure the safety of local bus excursions.