Accident in Nicaragua Ends Journey of 13 Venezuelan Migrants

Among the 16 deceased there are 13 Venezuelans and one Nicaraguan; Two other people have not yet been identified, according to an official police report.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – At least 13 Venezuelan migrants died Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in a horrendous traffic accident that occurred on La Cucamonga hill, located at kilometer 171.5 of the Pan-American highway, in the department of Estelí. As confirmed by the Police, in addition to the Venezuelans, there is a deceased Nicaraguan and two more people who have not been identified and many injured.

The deceased Venezuelans were Judith Maritza Cáceres Contreras, 45 years old; Franyel José Pérez Urroa, 44 years old; Alexis Rodolfo Hurdaneta, 43 years old; Aristides Brillembourg Arambulo, 39 years old; Jackson Jahir Somoza Niño, 38 years old; Joselyn Mariajosé Martel Bermúdez, 38 years old; Dalia Elena Soler Cortez, 37 years old; Neomar Sulem Márquez Flores, 36 years old; Antony Enrique Romero, 31 years old; Eyner Edgardo Rodríguez Molina, 30 years old; Jordán José Castellano Castillo, 29 years old, Cinthia Ninoska Was Rojas, 26 years old; Juleana Beatriz Quiñónez Martel, 20 years old. In addition to Nicaraguan Lorenzo Alberto Mejía Leiva, 42, who was originally from Boaco.

The migrants were traveling aboard a public transport bus that covers the Managua – Jalapa route and it hit a taxi and a private car and then left the road and fell into a precipice. A reported 63 people were traveling on the bus, 16 died (five women and 11 men) and 47 more people were injured.

The traffic accident investigators and criminalistics experts found that Alfredo Antonio Palma, 46 years old, was driving the bus at excessive speed, when he collided with two cars. “As a result of the collision and excessive speed, the driver lost control and the bus which fell over a precipice”, describes a police note.

Local media reported that the majority of passengers aboard the bus were migrants from Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador who were seeking to reach the Nicaraguan border with Honduras to continue towards the United States. The bus left the Nicaraguan capital at around three in the afternoon and it is estimated that it would travel 290 kilometers to reach Jalapa in six hours; however, at about 6:30 in the afternoon the tragedy occurred.

In recent months, Nicaragua has been the transit point for thousands of migrants from South America and Cuba who cross Central America and Mexico to reach the US illegally.

Driver detained for investigation

The bus driver and his assistant were unharmed and are being held at the Estelí police station. The bodies of the deceased have already been transferred to the Institute of Legal Medicine in Managua, where they began to be examined by a forensic examiner, who determined that the death occurred due to “severe head trauma and polytrauma.”

A citizen who witnessed the accident told ABC Stereo Radio that the bus appeared to not have brakes and before colliding it almost hit a pedestrian who signaled for him stop. Likewise, they assure that the bus driver was unaware that the road was under repair and for this reason he collided with the vehicles that were parked waiting for the signal to continue.

“By a miracle of God, they did not pass by taking out those who were there holding up the vehicles because due to the road work right now there is only one lane for cars to travel. We ran out to help rescue, but thank God the police, the Red Cross and all the ambulances came quickly,” said Mario Moreno.

The injured were transferred to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, located in Estelí. As described by radio La Primerísima, in the face of this tragedy, the inhabitants of Condega brought water, food, clothing and blankets to the survivors.

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