Two young girls have died and scores more have been injured, after a bus flipped over on Ruta 2 heading towards San Clemente del Tuyú Thursday morning.
The bus, of the Silvicar company, was ferrying children from a primary school in Benavidez to the Mundo Marino tourist attraction in the coastal town of San Clemente del Tuyú, Buenos Aires Province.
The accident happened as the bus negotiated a curve near the town of Lezama, 160 kilometres south of the capital, around 6am local time.
Six ambulances rushed the injured to hospitals, as firefighters were called in to rescue victims trapped in the wreckage. Students were taken to hospitals in Lezama, Chascomús and La Plata.
In total, there were 43 children aged 11 to 13 on the bus along with 10 adults, including two drivers, officials said.
"There are two children dead who are 11 and 12 years old, and many seriously wounded who were taken to local hospitals," a police officer in Buenos Aires told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Local outlets later confirmed that the two fatalities were both girls aged 12.
Four children were said to have “serious” injuries, with officials later confirming two youngsters had been forced to undergo amputations of limbs.
The bus had departed from the school at 3am local time, as students looked forward to an end of year trip to the popular Mundo Marino aquarium.
There are some very grave injuries," said Alejanda Rivas, one of the doctors from the UPA7 hospital, where victims were brought, speaking to the Continental radio station.
Police are investigating the cause of the accident, which took place in good weather and on a part of a curve that is not pronounced.
Driver Alberto Maldonado was submitted to an alcohol blood test that came back negative, according to local reports.
"The bus lost control around a curve. Between 5 and 10 kids were taken to different hospitals," said Diego Escoda, attorney general of provinicial town of Dolores, speaking to the TN news channel.
According to Escoda, the working theory is that the bus "ran into the [hard] shoulder."
He also said that Maldonado, as well as the other driver who accompanied him, had been detained and that the case was being investigated as a "reckless homicide."
One witness, identified as Andrés, told local news outlets said they were surprised there hadn't been more serious injuries.
"I was coming behind them and on the curve the moment it turned over. I got out of the car with my friend and we began trying to remove the kids," he said.
Victoria, an aunt of one of the survivors, told Perfil that her niece "has injuries on her legs and on her face" and that the "father went with the grandfather to find her."
According to Victoria, the little girl said that her "classmates were badly injured."
The case will fall under the jurisdiction of Judge Jonatan Robert de la UFI No. 10 of Chascomús.