Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Collision on the Highway

Our destinations in Chile and Argentina seem to be set further apart then when we were in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, so we are taking overnight buses a lot more often than usual.

Overnight buses are especially great in Argentina, because instead of a bumpy, rocky road, the bus travels on a highway. A smooth journey makes for a better night rest.

We were on yet another overnight journey from Cordoba to Mendoza (where there are cheaper horse-riding expeditions) when our bus got involved into an accident. A 4-vehicle collision, to be exact.

Of course, we were semi-asleep, and were suddenly awoken by a loud bang and a sudden jerk. I got a small nick on my toe from the impact, though that did not bother me till later. Next thing we knew, we were hearing cries in Espanol, something that sounded like "Vaca, vaca! Todos vaca!"

Translated, that means, "Cow, cow! All cows!"

I had obviously heard wrong, because there was a brief but sudden panic and everyone on the bus just grabbed their bags and evacuated. Only when we were outside and shivering in the cold night wind did we realise what had happened.

Our bus had knocked into a passenger car.
A truck had knocked into our bus.
Another truck had knocked into the first truck.

4 vehicles in all.

Kind of scary, because come to think of it, we were seated in the last row of our bus! Our tickets were for seats 45 and 46, though the seats were actually labelled 41 and 42. Then we remembered that we had the entire luggage compartment behind us too, and would have cushioned some of the shock if the collision was more severe.

This is what I reckon happened:

All 4 vehicles were basically tailgating each other on the highway, traveling at close to 100kmh. Car in front suddenly jams the brakes for some reason. Our bus also jammed the brakes and stopped in time.

That's why the car in front got off lightly with only 1 dented rear windshield and 2 broken brake lights. Our bus was pushed forward by the truck behind hitting us.

Car in front was really fortunate to drive off in a collision involving 3 other big vehicles!

The truck behind us got off relatively unscathed too. It was basically just kissing our bus's ass.

That's not the way to give a pat on the back!

Then we looked at the last truck, and our blood ran cold. The cab (to clarify: the front part of the truck where the driver sits is called the cab. There is no taxi involved in this accident) was totally crushed.

There is no way the driver in this truck could have survived.

Stark reminder that speeding kills

So the last truck was the one that was traveling too fast and too close, most possibly causing the death of the driver. We do not know for sure.

After about 35 minutes of milling around, we were placed on another bus that was going to a nearby bus terminal in San Luis (along with our bags), and upon arrival at the station, transferred to yet another bus from the same company that we bought our tickets from.

About 8-9 other passengers were given this same transfer as us, while the rest of the passengers waited along the highway for yet another bus that brought them directly to Mendoza.

It was a great relief when we finally arrived at Mendoza at 7.30am and checked into our hostel for the next 2 days.

Now, if there are any true-blue Singaporeans waiting for me to reveal licence plate numbers, I didn't take them down. But hey, I've listed down numbers 0-9 in this post. Why don't you let your eyes randomly run through the post and grab whatever numbers catch your eye? :)


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