An estimated 200 to 300 lives are claimed in accidents every year on the world’s most dangerous road, a 40-mile pass in Bolivia stretching from the capital of La Paz to the resort town of Coroico.
This past week, video footage captured one of those horrific accidents, showing a bus carefully edging along a pass until it suddenly slips and plunges off the cliff into a ravine.
The Camino de la Muerte (or Road of Death, as it was dubbed in the 1980s) appears muddy in a YouTube video uploaded by an account registered as 007Comfort. The account holder writes that the driver was alone on the bus and did not realize how close the back wheels were to the precipice.
The bus fell more than 160 feet down the ravine, killing the driver, who had reportedly unloaded his passengers before heading down the treacherous pass.
Despite its known dangers, people continue to traverse the road, in part because of what it transports. As The Post’s Juan Forero and Josh Partlow reported in 2008, the route from La Paz to Coroico is perfect for growing coca, the shiny green leaf that serves as the base for cocaine. The road is also a popular tourist attraction, especially for thrill seekers, who are attracted to the plethora of mountain biking tours available.
“Those up for an adrenaline rush will be in their element,” the Lonely Planet guide book says. But at places where the pass is just a little over 10 feet wide, “your best bet is to bury your head and not look until it's over.”
The New York Times’ Ethan Todras-Whitehill did the mountain bike ride in 2008, and his description of the ride is terrifying. “The highway drops precipitously down the mountainside, and the pavement is slick with rain and hail,” his piece begins. “Cars pass in both directions, forcing me to pedal tight to the thousand-foot drop at the road’s edge.”
Watch the video of the bus falling off the road’s edge below:
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