Bus crash in Atlas ravine kills at least 42 on board
AT LEAST 42 people have died after a bus plunged into a ravine in Morocco’s Atlas mountains yesterday.
More than 20 others were reported to have been injured, some seriously.
The victims were all understood to be Moroccan nationals, although thousands of European tourists travel to the North African country every year.
The bus, travelling between the cities of Marrakech and Zagora, left the road near the town of Zerkten in Haouz province and fell 490ft, local officials said.
The tragedy occurred as the bus was heading towards Marrakech, after crossing the Tizi-n-Tichka pass, the highest in Morocco.
Provincial governor Younes el-Bathaoui arrived at the site of the crash to supervise the rescue operation, the official news agency, MAP, said.
In a palace statement, King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and announced that he would pay for their transport, funeral and burial costs.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known.
But the bus, with 67 people on board, was evidently overloaded, a source at the ministry of transport said, with the largest bus category in Morocco authorised to carry 54 people.
In July, two separate bus crashes in Morocco killed 26 people.
More than 4,000 people died in road accidents in Morocco last year, according to the transport ministry – an increase of 11.6 per cent on the previous year.
In November 2010, 24 people drowned when a bus carrying workmen tumbled off the road and into a river near the Moroccan capital Rabat.
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