At least nine people died and 35 others were injured Tuesday when a bus crashed into the side of a mountain in the western Venezuelan state of Tachira, authorities said.

This is the second highway accident with a high number of victims in the past week in Venezuela. Last Wednesday, 14 people died in the central state of Guarico in a bus-truck collision.

"We have reported up to now nine people dead and 35 injured," the national director of emergency services, Luis Diaz Curbelo, told state television.

The accident, which came in the middle of vacation season in Venezuela, occurred on the Troncal 5 highway in the Chururu sector, he said.

Authorities are investigating the possible causes of the crash, in which the bus driver died.

Curbelo mentioned the possibility that "a mechanical failure" could have contributed to the crash.

"Apparently (the driver) lost control and it crashed into a hill," he said.

The bus, owned by Expresos Los Llanos, had departed from the city of Upata in the southern state of Bolivar.

Last week, the Venezuelan government declared a state of emergency on the country's roadways for 90 days, saying that it was "indispensable" to take measures to improve the highway infrastructure, which has deteriorated in recent years due to lack of maintenance.

Curbelo asked drivers for "prudence" on the road and said that the authorities will investigate whether the bus lines are complying with prevailing regulations. EFE