A bus slammed into the back of a badly parked trailer-truck and burst into flames in eastern Mexico on Sunday, killing at least 36 people and injuring four others, authorities said.
The bus had left Villahermosa in Tabasco state and was en route to Mexico City when it crashed near the municipality of Juan Rodriguez Clara, the government of the southeastern state of Veracruz government said in a statement. The bus was completely consumed by the fire. Most of the roof and tires of the bus were reduced to ashes in the highway accident, according to television images.
"The trailer-truck was on the shoulder of the highway at kilometer 135 (mile 84) ... when the bus hit the back of the trailer, which caused this regrettable accident," Governor Javier Duarte said. "In addition to crashing, the bus caught fire, which makes the investigative work to identify bodies more difficult," he told Milenio television.
Federal police concluded that the truck was badly parked, the state government said. A state prosecutor was sent to investigate the crash.
At least 36 people were confirmed dead, said government spokesman Alberto Silva Ramos. Duarte had earlier reported 25 deaths.
Those injured have been hospitalized and are in stable condition, officials said.
The accident took place between 1:30 am and 2:00 am local time (0630 GMT and 0700 GMT) as the bus took passengers, mostly shopkeepers, from the southeastern Tabasco state city of Villahermosa to Mexico City.
The tragedy occurred as Mexicans are set to begin Holy Week in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.
President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed his "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims via Twitter.
Bus crashes and road accidents occur frequently in Mexico, taking a heavy death toll each year. In 2012, at least 43 people died when a truck hit a bus in Veracruz, and just a couple of months later more than 30 others were killed in a separate accident in Guerrero state.