Dozens dead as bus plunges from Peru's Devil's Curve

With 55 people on board, vehicle fell 100 metres and landed upside down on rocks

ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH    Rescue workers transport victims after a bus crashed with a truck and careened off a cliff along a sharply curving highway north of Lima, Peru, January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

A bus plunged over a seaside cliff in Peru on Tuesday, killing at least 48 people after a collision with a truck on a precarious stretch known as the Devil's Curve.

The bus was travelling from Huacho, 130 kilometres north of the capital, to Lima with 55 passengers and two crew on board when it went off the road about noon.

It plunged 100 metres and landed upside down on rocks at the edge of the sea.

The incident "left at least 48 victims" dead, the interior ministry said.

Efforts to recover bodies from the vehicle were suspended at nightfall because the tide had risen and reached the bus, the police said.

A police helicopter winched rescue workers to the wreck of the bus while others made the precarious journey down by foot and supported by ropes.

The navy sent a patrol boat to assist the rescuers before the tide came in.

There were several survivors, although most on board the bus perished.

"For us it is very painful to suffer an accident of this magnitude. My deep solidarity lies with the pain suffered by the relatives," president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski wrote on Twitter.

Maria Elena Aguilar, director of Alcides Carrion Hospital in El Callao, said her facility received five patients with multiple injuries.

One survivor was taken to another hospital.

Read more: Peru bus crash kills dozens in 2009

The accident took place on a coastal highway about 45 kilometres north of Lima, said Col Dino Escudero, head of the police highway patrol division.

The Pasamayo highway on which the tragedy occurred is used by trucks and buses, as cars travel a different route.

It is a dangerous sea-hugging road, where fog is frequent and high humidity can make the roadway slippery.

The bus driver had a lot of experience and was working with an assistant, said Luis Martinez, a representative of Transportes San Martin de Porres, which owned the bus.

Mr Martinez could not confirm whether the driver had been killed or injured, but added that the bus underwent a mechanical check before leaving Huacho.

More than 2,500 people died in traffic accidents in Peru in 2016, according to official figures.