The accident happened in the early morning hours on a fog-shrouded mountain highway near the town of Pouso Redondo, 340 miles southwest of Sao Paulo in the state of Santa Catarina.
"The crash was so strong that the Argentine bus exploded into a ball of fire after falling over on one of its sides," Federal Highway Police officer Ivan Robson Flores said.
Forty-one people were killed at the scene, including four children, Flores said. One passenger died at the hospital. Flores said earlier reports that another 20 tourists were burned to death proved to be untrue.
"It is highly unlikely that we will find other bodies under the wreckage," he said.
The bus carrying the Argentine tourists was apparently speeding down a hill when it smashed into the other bus, which was on a regular inter-city route, he said. He did not know how many passengers were on the Argentine bus.
The bus from the Argentine province of Tucuman was headed to the beach resort of Camboriu, about 60 miles east of the accident site, Flores said. Argentina's ambassador to Brazil, Jorge Hugo Herreras Vegas, told Globo TV that an Argentine air force plane was being sent to Brazil to carry the bodies back home.
Flores said the only two Brazilian victims were the driver of the inter-city bus and one passenger. A truck, van and several cars were also involved in the accident but apparently none of their drivers or passengers was hurt, he said.
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