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12 reported dead as bus carrying foreign tourists flips over in Mexico

Twelve people were killed on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017, when a bus transporting tourists, on a day-trip from a cruise ship, veered off the road and flipped over in southeastern Mexico. (Dreamstime/TNS)

A bus carrying foreign passengers from a pair of cruise ships to Maya ruins in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula crashed Tuesday, leaving at least 12 people dead and 18 injured, including some U.S. citizens, according to Mexican authorities and local reports.

The nationalities of the dead and most of the injured were not immediately released. At least one of the dead was a minor, Mexican authorities said.

Among the injured were citizens of the United States, Brazil and Sweden, said the office of civil defense in Quintana Roo, the southern Mexican state where the accident occurred.

The bus that crashed was transporting 31 people, including the driver, from the port of Mahahual to Maya ruins at Chacchoben, 44 miles to the northwest, Mexican authorities said. The trip takes about an hour.

Many cruise passengers docking in the Yucatan take day trips to ruins and other sites on the peninsula.

In a series of Twitter messages, Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises called the news “heartbreaking” and said 27 guests from two of its ships, Celebrity Equinox and Serenade of the Seas, were on board the bus.

“We are working with the local authorities to learn more about the accident,” the cruise company said. “We are doing all we can to help our guests,” including assisting with medical care and transportation, the company said.

Diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and other embassies here were working to identify the foreign casualties, but there were few details.

“We’ve seen reports of an accident involving a bus contracted by Royal Caribbean in Quintana Roo, Mexico,” the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said in a statement. “We express our condolences to all those affected by this tragedy. We are in contact with local authorities and are working with them to determine if there were U.S. citizens on board.”

There was no official declaration on the cause of the crash.

Photos in the Mexican press showed the ill-fated bus turned over on what appeared to be a two-lane highway bordered by heavy brush. An ambulance was on the scene and emergency workers were present. People who appeared to be tourists milled alongside the stricken bus and in the nearby brush.

The wounded were taken to hospitals in the cities of Chetumal and Bacalar, Mexican authorities said. Forensic authorities were also on the scene, officials said.

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(Sanchez is a special correspondent in the Los Angeles Times’ Mexico City bureau.)

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© 2017 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.