Fatal bus accident in Uruguay: a WhatsApp audio from the driver warned of problems with the vehicle

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A 15-year-old girl died in the rollover and injured 20 others, including the driver. Passengers had reported mechanical problems on a previous trip.

< i class="i-share-btn telegram">The audio of the WhatsApp message that the bus driver sent before the accident

In the last few hours, a WhatsApp audio message from the bus driver who was involved in a traffic accident in Maldonado on Thursday circulated through social networks in Uruguay. The vehicle crossed the lane and overturned on the interbalnearia route, causing the death of a 15-year-old adolescent.

Another 17 passengers and the driver had to be treated by medical personnel for various injuries, and were referred to Montevideo and Maldonado for hospitalization. The driver is still in serious condition, as is another 31-year-old Uruguayan passenger. An Argentine woman who was traveling will be transferred to the neighboring country, with multiple fractures in her body.

Fatal bus accident in Uruguay: a WhatsApp audio of the driver warned of problems with the vehicle

Passengers of the accident car reported mechanical problems on a previous trip, they did so in the company but also in posts on social networks. Photo: Iván Silchenkoo.

At the moment there are several hypotheses but nothing concrete about the origin of the accident. The bus changed path, passed through the central flowerbed, hit the guardrail and fell some 12 meters into the void. Human or mechanical error is not ruled out, as well as the sum of both. The responsibilities are not clear and the transport company is being investigated.

The victims' lawyer, Rafael Silva, affirms that the vehicle driver's cell phone should be analyzed, since several passengers let him know that he used it during the trip. In this audio the driver details that the unit was moving abnormally.

This weekend the primary statements were taken from the victims, as explained by the lawyer in dialogue with Underlined (Channel 10). And he said that they went “to find out where each passenger was going and see what elements each one has to contribute.” He also considered “mechanical skills, analyzing the cell phone and other passengers who reported previous damages important.”

The audio that reports a problem

< p class="paragraph">A key piece was revealed in the last hours. As published by the newspaper El Observador, the driver sent a WhatsApp audio to a colleague, detailing the imperfections that the unit he was driving had.

“Here I'm on Wave 540, everyone complains, you don't know what this is. It jiggles For all sides. I don't know whether to take it to 80, whether to take it to 100, take it to 95. I don't know!”

Fatal bus accident in Uruguay: a WhatsApp audio from the driver warned of problems with the vehicle

Human or mechanical error is not ruled out, as well as the sum of both. The responsibilities are not clear and the transport company is being investigated. Photo: Paola Fiege

This account of the driver agrees with what was expressed by passengers who had traveled in this same vehicle before this fatal accident.

A passenger denounced in the company upon arrival at the destination in the Montevideo terminal, but the car left again. Iván Silchenkoo wrote on his Instagram account that car number 540 “was rocking from side to side like we had never seen in our lives, we complained several times before and after the trip and we took a photo to report what happened and he also went on a trip again after a short while!”

Felipe Donagaray, a 19-year-old boy who survived the accident, told El País that during the trip, prior to the accident, he noticed that the bus “was going too fast” , who was unstable and felt a “shake”.

The investigation is just beginning

The Uruguayan Highway Police reported that the prosecutor Jessica Pereira is the one who is carrying out the case. The official ordered toxicological tests and a breathalyzer test for the driver of the vehicle, who was seriously injured after the accident and is still hospitalized.

He also requested that statements be taken “immediately” from both passengers and witnesses. Since several drivers stopped on the road to help, and also from a car a video was filmed where the movement “from side to side” of the unit is seen.

Fatal bus accident in Uruguay: a WhatsApp audio from the driver warned of problems with the vehicle

A 15-year-old adolescent died. The driver is still in serious condition, as is another 31-year-old Uruguayan passenger. Photo: Paola Fiege

Andrés Martínez, a member of the Copsa Workers Association (ATC), said at a press conference that the union had already asked the company that the fleet be “in good condition.” Since it is concentrated in trips to spas, and in the season the number of trips increases every year.

From the Copsa company they said that the bus had had a general check-up in a specialized body shop in mid-December 2022. The company manager explained that maintenance is periodic.

The company explained that when the car went through the shop it had an inspection suspension, stabilizer bar and shock absorbers. The conclusion of the mechanics was that “it was in perfect condition”, and the same was determined after the checks carried out by the company itself.

It now remains to wait for the result of the mechanical tests, in addition to the statements, so that this tax case can move forward.

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