Panama buries last 13 bodies of dozens of bus crash victims

PANAMA CITY (AP) — Panama buried the last 13 unclaimed bodies Friday from a Feb. 15 bus crash that killed over three dozen migrants from several countries.

The migrants buried Friday included people from Haiti, Eritrea and Nigeria. Their bodies had not been claimed by relatives.

They were buried in individual graves in a cemetery in the province of Chiriqui near the border with Costa Rica. About 20 other bodies had already been claimed.

The bus was carrying 67 migrants, most from Ecuador, Haiti and Venezuela, when it plunged off a hillside. Many of the migrants had crossed the dangerous Darien Gap into Panama from Colombia.

Later that month, Panama’s government suspended bus trips carrying the migrants across the country, after a bus caught fire. All the passengers on that bus were evacuated safely.

Migrants frequently reach Panama by crossing the roadless, jungle-clad Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama. Panamanian authorities estimate that over 250,000 migrants made the dangerous land crossing in 2020, and that so far this year an additional 50,000 are believed to have made the trip.

Panama often allows migrants to travel to the border with Costa Rica, where they generally try to cross Central America and Mexico to reach the U.S. southwestern border.


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