updated 8/23/2009 11:12:47 PM ET 2009-08-24T03:12:47

A passenger bus drove into a ravine in Peru's southern Andes mountains on Sunday, killing 22 people and injuring 31, officials said.

Local fire department official Maria del Castillo said the accident took place before dawn on a remote highway in Huancavelica province, 160 miles (260 kilometers) southeast of Peru's capital, Lima.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated, said del Castillo. Fire fighters at the scene reported that the mountain highway was in poor condition.

Fire officials initially said two Dutch tourists were among the dead, but later backed away from that claim.

Regional police chief, Gen. Alfredo Miranda, confirmed the fatalities to The Associated Press by telephone.

Highway wrecks are frequent in Peru due to the poor state of the roads, overworked bus drivers and run-down vehicles.

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