updated 5/7/2005 5:21:40 PM ET 2005-05-07T21:21:40

A bus plunged off a mountain road in Peru's remote northern Andes on Saturday, killing at least 40 people and injuring 18, police said.

The accident happened before dawn near the village of Pampa, 390 kilometers (240 miles) north of Lima, police Sgt. Maj. Carlos Mautino told The Associated Press via telephone.

Mautino said the cause of the accident was still under investigation and that the injured had been taken to a health clinic in Pampa. Canal N television reported that the bus carrying 60 people fell from a bridge 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) into a gorge.

Bus crashes are common in Peru, where drivers frequently speed and pass other vehicles on blind mountain curves.

On April 19, a passenger bus traveling over the Cordillera Blanca mountains in Ancash plummeted 350 meters (1,150 feet) off a cliff, killing 23 people and injuring 16 after the driver put the vehicle in reverse on a narrow, rutted road to maneuver past a sharp curve in the road.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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