At least 39 dead in Panama after bus carrying migrants falls off a cliff

Another 27 people, 10 of them minors, were injured to varying degrees and have been hospitalized.

At least 39 people were killed and 27 others injured when a bus carrying immigrants bound for the U.S. fell off a cliff in Panama. According to initial investigations, the driver of the vehicle overshot the intended exit and, in attempting to correct course, lost control. The bus collided with another vehicle and ended up plunging off the cliff.

Among the deceased are some children. At least 10 other children between the ages of four and 11 are hospitalized, three of them in critical condition. The two drivers of the bus were Panamanians with valid licenses, according to police. At least one of them also lost his life in the accident.

Ten minors hospitalized, three of them in critical condition

The bus departed from the Darien region of Panama, bordering Colombia. It was carrying 66 people of different nationalities, Panama's National Migration Service said in a press release. According to other migrants, in statements to La Estrella, there was a caravan of 16 buses. Their destination was the shelter Los Planes de Gualaca, in the province of Chiriqui, on the border with Costa Rica.

Over 37,000 migrants from the jungles of El Darien

Just a few hours earlier, Minister of Public Security Juan M. Pino reviewed the migratory situation in Panama, "a country of transit," in his words. According to ministry data, more than 37,000 migrants have arrived from the jungles of El Darien so far this year (250,000 in 2022), 900 the night before the accident. All of them are risking their lives to flee from their countries of origin to try to reach the United States.