13 dead in Brazil vehicle pile-up

Sao Paulo, Jan 14 (IANS) At least 13 people died and 39 others were injured in a five-vehicle traffic accident on an expressway alongside the municipality of Grao Mogol in the southeastern Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, officials said.

The accident involved a car, a minibus, two vans and a truck with a load of paper that caught fire in the collision, officials at the region’s Fire Department said, Efe reported.

Several of the injured are in serious condition and were taken to regional hospitals with the aid of a Military Police helicopter, while most of the 39 who were hurt are in good health and in no danger of death.

The accident occurred at kilometer 400 (mile 250) on the BR-251 Expressway and blocked traffic in both directions for four hours Saturday morning, according to Federal Highway Police who are investigating the causes of the accident.

The BR-251, known as the Julio Garcia Expressway, covers some 1,500 kilometers between the state of Bahia in the northeast and the west-central state of Mato Grosso, and goes through the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

The area where the accident occurred is one of the busiest stretches on the expressway, which has problems of maintenance in some parts, chiefly in Mato Grosso, which even has some parts that are not paved.

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