Police lower death toll in Brazil crash

AP News
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Posted: Dec 15, 2014 2:03 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's highway patrol drastically lowered an earlier estimate of the death toll from a bus crash Monday, saying that five people were killed after the bus collided with a tanker truck in northeastern Brazil.

Earlier, military police said they feared more than two dozen people had been killed in the accident, which saw both vehicles involved engulfed in flames on the roadside.

Both an investigator and a spokeswoman for the highway patrol confirmed the lower death toll. They asked that their names not be used, citing department rules.

The press relations office for the military police who earlier said they feared upward of 30 people were killed in the accident didn't not return repeated phone calls seeking comment about the confusion.

The accident happened after the bus tried to pass another vehicle. The driver then tried to avoid hitting the oncoming tanker truck by swerving into the ditch, but they hit head on.

Police said the two vehicles were engulfed in flame by the time they arrived and there was little they could attempt to try to save any passengers.

The crash happened about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.