10 years since the La Cresta bus tragedy

Sunday, October 23rd marks the 10th anniversary of the La Cresta 8b-06 bus fire, which killed 18 people. The tragic day has been remembered for years in Panama through various movements including the painting of dozens of blue hearts on Martin Sosa Avenue in La Cresta and highways around the country. 

This year commemoration began with a 7 a.m. a mass began at Don Bosco Church, attended by relatives of the victims.Panama Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa José during the mass recalled incidents involving public transport have resulted in numerous of deaths and serious injuries following the bus fire.

"Our roads have become paths of self-destruction," he said. This situation is made worse by the poor state of the streets, vehicular congestion, recklessness and the endless hours spent waiting for public transport, the priest said.

"This is a day for national reflection so that we can all shoulder our responsibilities," he said. "The crisis in the transit system deserves special attention."

Julio González, director of the transit agency ATTT, said this day represents a call to society to practice cautious driving and help reduce traffic accidents. So far this year Panama has already seen 500 traffic related deaths. 

González, at the same time, stressed that the public transport system is a "work in progress" and that significant steps have been taken.