Dozens of schoolchildren killed in Tanzanian bus accident

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Residents gather at the scene of an accident that killed schoolchildren, teachers and a minibus driver along the Arusha-Karatu highway in Tanzania's northern tourist region of Arusha

Residents gather at the scene of an accident that killed schoolchildren, teachers and a minibus driver at the Rhota village along the Arusha-Karatu highway in Tanzania’s northern tourist region of Arusha, on May 6, 2017. Photo by Emmanuel Herman/Reuters

At least 35 people were killed in Tanzania on Saturday when a bus carrying school children and traveling in inclement weather plummeted into a ravine, according to local authorities.

At least 32 children ages 12 and 13 were killed in the accident along with two teachers and the bus driver, police told Reuters. The accident took place at approximately 9:30 a.m. local time in the northern region of Arusha, an area popular with tourists.

“The accident happened when the bus was descending on a steep hill in rainy conditions,” said Arusha regional police commander Charles Mkumbo. “We are still investigating the incident to determine if it was caused by a mechanical defect or human error on the part of the driver.”

The students, who attended the Lucky Vincent School, were reportedly traveling to visit another school to take mock exams when the accident occurred, Mkumbo said.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli called the accident a “national tragedy.”

“This accident extinguishes the dreams of these children who were preparing to serve the nation, it is an immense pain for the families involved and for the whole nation,” he said.

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