13 died and 40 injured in bus crash in Peru

Thirteen people, including one American, were killed and 40 others were injured when a passenger bus skidded off a southern Andean highway and flipped on its side, police said Monday. The accident occurred before dawn Sunday on an isolated road near the highland district of Santa Lucia, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of the capital of Lima .

Police said a U.S. citizen, identified as Negab Nechans Sennot, 31, whose hometown was not available, was among those killed. Also killed were an infant boy and a 15-year-old boy, both Peruvians. No other foreigners were listed among the dead or the injured, who were taken to hospitals in the nearby city of Juliaca .

Conflicting reports attributed the accident to the driver falling asleep at the wheel, or a mechanical failure that had twice prompted the driver to pull over the vehicle, which carried about 60 passengers, local media reported. Police said the accident was under investigation.

Buses in Peru often are poorly maintained, and drivers frequently speed and pass each other on blind mountain curves. Overall, 557 people were killed in rural bus accidents between July 2004 and June 2005, according to Peru 's nonprofit Center for Investigation of Overland Transport, reports the AP.