Bolivia bus death tragedy

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

A YOUNG Sheffield traveller died when the bus she was on fell down a hillside in Bolivia.

Rita McAndrew, aged 24, of Burcot Road, Meersbrook, was in South America before taking up a place at university to study science.

A Sheffield inquest heard this week that the bus, on a night trip to Tupiza, was been driven in a ‘fast and aggressive manner’. It had been ‘swerving’ in and out throughout the journey and a passenger reported hearing ‘scraping’ before the crash, on August 4.

Robert Baines, also on the vehicle, said: “I remember the bus tipping to the right and the drop and then lots of screaming and that was the point you could feel your stomach drop.”

Finding Rita, who had been sleeping against a window, unconscious, he tried to resuscitate her and continued with CPR in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But she never regained consciousness.

The inquest heard that in Bolivia, ambulances are crewed only by a driver.

Reports at the time said another 35 people, including one other British person, were hurt.

Coroner Louise Slater summarised the road condition ‘wasn’t that bad’ on the day and asked Mr Baines: “From the moment you got on the bus you thought it was being driving in a fast and aggressive manner?” He replied: “Yes.”

Cause of death was multiple injuries.

Ms Slater recorded a verdict of accidental death and told Rita’s family: “The fact it happened in another country, I can’t imagine the shock that caused you. I’m sorry for your loss of somebody so young.”

A friend of Rita said: “She had a complete love of life and she lived in the moment.”