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18 Dead, 37 Injured, Tragic Bus Crash in Cocle

Emergency personnel and equipment are on the site of a bus which crashed when traveling from Bocas del Toro to Panama on the PanAmerican Highway. The bus went down a steep embankment near Ciénaga Vieja in Antón. All the victims are males, it seems they were agricultural workers.


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To my way of thinking, this incident qualifies as a horrific tragedy.

Given that we know several people who typically use the highway buses for getting around in Panama, hopefully more information will be made available in the immediate future, including the names of those who died or were wounded.

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The death toll has risen to 18 with 37 people injured. According to reports from TM and TVN, this bus was chartered to take these workers from Bocas del Toro to a farm near Chame.


  • Eliseo Thomas Santos 12-700-1011
  • Ecedeño Serrano Morales 1-721-223
  • Mario Santiago Diego 1-19-2736
  • Benancio Abrigo Zalazar 1-48153
  • Diomedes Taylor Simons 1-737-2215
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  • Gervacio Remigio José Rolet 1-738-2463
  • Entimos Reyes Becker Becker 1-738-2463
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Edited by Keith Woolford
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18 dead 37 injured as bus plunges into river


EIGHTEEN  PEOPLE  died and 37 were injured, many seriously when a bus  returning from Bocas del Toro to Panama  plunged from a bridge into  a river on Sunday afternoon March 5


The accident happened at 2.15 pm  on the InterAmericana highway at  Ciénaga Vieja, in the Antón district, in Coclé when the driver lost control near the Health Center and plunged into the Las Guabas river.

Firemen and rescue teams from the Emergency Task Force  were called in from surrounding areas to assist passengers trapped inside the bus and helicopters arrived to help ferry the injured to  different hospitals in the region as local hospitals were quickly overwhelmed


Ambulance helicopter

Gilberto Samaniego National Police Commissioner of the West Panama Province, and a member of the Joint Task Force, said injured passengers were being transferred to the Nicolás Solano Hospital in La Chorrera because  the medical centers of Anton and Penonomé were  at their maximum capacity and could no longer  accept patients.



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Day of reflection to mark bus deaths

The children of the owner of the bus, were among the dead.

CHILDREN  returning to school on Monday Mar. 6,  following the summer break, found flags flying at half mast and before singing the national anthem  they were asked to  observe a minute’s silence for 18  indigenous farm workers who died  the day before, when their bus plunged from a bridge to a river 60 meters below.

President Juan Carlos Varela who visited the scene of the tragedy on Sunday,  declared Monday a National Day of reflection.

Meanwhile, the number of injured in hospitals scattered across three provinces was upgraded to 39, as their names were released.

The workers who had left Punta Peña de Chiriquí at  Grande, Bocas del Toro at 7 am  were en route to  a to pick water melons at a farm  in Gorgona de Chame whose owner had  chartered the bus.  Most of the workers were from Kusapín.

Three Helicopters of the Naval Air Service  were used to transport critically injured patients to Santo Tomas Hospital, but two died soon after arrival.

“We will  give all our  support to the families of these Panamanian workers who lost their lives on the way to do their job,” said Varela.

The Civil Defense  Service (Sinaproc) has  activated a number to give information to relatives of the injured  and deceased, and to coordinate hospital transfers.

A total of 39 workers  remain hospitalized Five  are in Santo Tomás Hospital, one of whom is in intensive care.

The  other 34 victims are being treated at the Aquilino Tejeira Hospital in Penonomé, the Doctor Rafael Estévez Hospital in Aguadulce, Arnulfo Arias Madrid Metropolitan Hospital Complex in Panama, and the Dr Gustavo Nelson Collado Hospital in Chitré.



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On 3/6/2017 at 10:15 AM, Brundageba said:

I hope there will be answers on why this happened.  Wind?  Possibly the driver fell asleep.  I'm speechless. Horrible tragedy.


According to the latest report given to the news media looks like the driver fell asleep while driving

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