(Updates casualty count.)


At least 14 people died and 33 others were injured Wednesday in a head-on crash between a bus and a truck in the central Venezuelan state of Guarico, the Civil Protection Service reported.

The number of fatalities is "remaining at 14," the general director of the Civil Protection Service, Luis Diaz Curbelo, told Efe, confirming that although 33 people were injured in the crash, "the great majority" of them have been released from the hospital.

The latest information reduced the death toll reported earlier in the day by Interior Ministry spokesman Jorge Galindo, who had said that initial reports were that 16 people had died.

"URGENT: regrettably confirmed 16 dead and 33 injured in the Expresos del Mar bus accident in Calabozo," Galindo had said on Twitter.

The accident occurred about 4 a.m. in the city of Calabozo, some 260 kilometers (161 miles) by highway south of Caracas, when a bus owned and operated by the Expresos del Mar company collided head-on with a cargo truck carrying bricks.

Both vehicles burst into flames, according to the information supplied by Galindo, who also said that local firefighters were dispatched to the scene to extinguish the blazes.

Highway accidents are frequent occurrences in Venezuela, a country where the roadway infrastructure is generally ill-maintained. EFE