QCOSTARICA – To protect people’s safety against landslides, passage through the Cambronero sector of the Ruta 1 will remain closed until further notice.
Juan Carlos Calderón, the emergency coordinator of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), explained that closure of the Ruta 1 is due to the dangers it represents, after the tragedy on Saturday when a bus, with some 60 people, was pushed off the embankment by falling debris and water.
The driver of the bus, David Bonilla, after his release from hospital, told television news that he felt the hit to the rear side of the bus he was driving, in a split second was facing the mountain and then felt being dragged over the edge and down some 75 meters before it came to a rest.
Bonilla, with some 30 years of experience behind the wheel of buses and other heavy vehicles, related: “I am going down normally on the bus, I make a compression change, I continue with the engine brake, but it is raining too much, I pass the Chorros sector and about 100 meters later I hear a noise like something that I cannot describe, it was like when they detonate dynamite and then I feel something hit me on the left side of the bus, it turns me around and I’m looking at the mountain wall.
“Immediately, we are going down the hill and I am looking at the sky; the bus was tumbling, it knocked me out of mye seat and it literally looked like a ping pong ball, hitting everything.”
“The way the bus ended up, it was so that no one would be alive,” said Bonilla, relating to the television news his efforts to help as many people as possible.
Bonilla, one of the survivors of the tragedy in which nine people lost their lives, suffered three broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, and said much of the skin on his back was peeled off. It took three hours for rescue workers to get him to safety.
The driver explained that many of the survivors left through the hatches in the bus. Those who were trapped in the rear due to the position in which the vehicle came to rest, exited through an emergency door, but fell into a ravine with a very strong current of water.
On Saturday, Bonilla left Jicaral, Puntarenas, at 3 am, heading for San José and was detained for a few minutes at the site where the unimaginable would occur later in the day. On the way back, when he was on the San José-Nosara route in Nicoya, Guanacaste, when tragedy struck.
Ruta 32 may be reopened today
Another major route affected by the rains is the Ruta 32 (San Jose – Limon). The road was closed on Monday between the Zurqui tunnel and Guapiles due to a major landslide.
On Tuesday, the road remained closed as work crews continued with the clean up. It is expected that road will be reopened sometime today, Wednesday.