Landslide buries bus in Colombia, at least 33 dead - government

Officials said at least 25 people were on the bus traveling between Cali, Colombia's third largest city, and Condoto, in Choco province.

 aerial view of the rescue operations of a bus that was buried after a landslide due to heavy rains in Pueblo Rico, Colombia December 5, 2022 (photo credit: COLOMBIAN CIVIL DEFENSE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
aerial view of the rescue operations of a bus that was buried after a landslide due to heavy rains in Pueblo Rico, Colombia December 5, 2022
(photo credit: COLOMBIAN CIVIL DEFENSE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

At least 33 people died when a landslide buried a bus in northwestern Colombia on Sunday, and nine have been rescued alive, the interior minister said.

The landslide, caused by strong rains, hit the vehicle between the villages of Pueblo Rico and Santa Cecilia in Risaralda province, about 230km (140 miles) from the capital Bogota.

"We have already found 33 people dead, including three minors, and we have rescued nine people alive, four of them are in critical condition," Interior Minister Alfonso Prada told reporters on Monday.

Colombia's President Gustavo Petro described the incident as a tragedy in a Twitter message.

 Police help the rescue operations of a bus that was buried after a landslide due to heavy rains in Pueblo Rico, Colombia  (credit: Colombia National Police/Handout via REUTERS) Police help the rescue operations of a bus that was buried after a landslide due to heavy rains in Pueblo Rico, Colombia (credit: Colombia National Police/Handout via REUTERS)

"Solidarity with the families of the victims," he added, pledging support from the national government.

Pueblo Rico Mayor Leonardo Fabio Siagama told reporters that bodies were being brought to a covered stadium in the town that is normally used for sports.

Rescue workers are still searching the scene for others

Risaralda's governor, Victor Manuel Tamayo, said earlier that five people had been rescued alive from the bus.

Officials had said at least 25 people were on the bus traveling between Cali, Colombia's third largest city, and Condoto, in Choco province.

Colombia had been hit by an unusually heavy rainy season, blamed on the La Nina weather phenomenon,

Events linked to heavy rains have killed more than 216 people and left 538,000 homeless so far in 2022, according to government statistics. Another 48 people are still missing across the country, the figures show.