Bogota – A mudslide dragged a bus 80 meters (260 feet) down a highway in central Colombia and dumped it in a ditch, but the 17 people aboard survived the accident, police said.
Luis Enrique Roa Merchan, the police commander in Quindio province where the damaging mudslide took place Thursday, told reporters that the accident occurred near the town of Cajamarca at a spot known as Cansaperros.
Roa's report provided some "peace of mind for the families of these 17 people," explaining that 15 have already been rescued and some of them sent to medical centers in the region, though none had suffered serious injuries.
He added that police and experts from the emergency management agency were working to rescue two people who are alive and unharmed in the wreckage of the bus that covered the route between Bogota and Cali, capital of the southwestern province of Valle del Cauca.
He did stress that the rescue of these two people is being carried out according to all security guidelines, since he did not rule out further avalanches of mud and trees sliding down the mountain in view of the continuing heavy rains.
He said that "no one is missing" in the accident that made it necessary to close one of the busiest highways in the country.
The DGR disaster management agency said in its report Thursday evening that so far this year 95 people have died in Colombia in accidents related to the torrential rains, which have affected 328 of the country's 1,102 municipalities.
Between April 2010 and the same month this year, Colombia suffered the longest and most damaging rainy season in decades, which left more than 440 people dead, affected 3.6 million people, destroyed roads, bridges, hundreds of houses, flooded thousands of hectares (acres) of crops and drowned thousands of head of cattle and poultry.