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Passengers were travelling to a church meeting in the port city of Mahajanga. Most of them were local volunteer teachers for Christian program Operation Christmas Child.
“The bus struggled to climb a road on a hill and fell down a ravine about 20 metres deep”, police spokesman Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona told AFP.
Passengers on the packed bus were travelling from the central town of Soavinandriana to a church meeting in the north-western coastal port city of Mahajanga when the accident happened.
VOLUNTEERS FOR OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Eight of the passengers killed were local volunteer teachers for Operation Christmas Child, a program run by Christian charity Samaritans Purse and 12 were children who had just recently graduated from the Greatest Journey Discipleship program of the same organization.
Police said 12 badly-burned bodies were counted at the site after the late-night crash. Afterwards, the central hospital in the capital Antananarivo announced the death of 18 other persons in a news release.
“It is unimaginable what happened because the car was in good condition, the papers of the vehicle were in order. My wife and my children were among the passengers. The whole family is dead”, Elias Ralaiarimanana, a bus driver, told media.
“THANKFUL THEY KNEW THE SAVIOR”
“I’m thankful they knew the Saviour and are now in His presence. Would you join us in praying for those who are grieving their loved ones and for the many injured?”. CEO of the charity, Franklin Graham, has said in his facebook.
Accidents of such nature are not rare in Madagascar, where the road network and vehicles are extremely dilapidated.
In January, at least 47 people died, and 22 were injured in a truck which brought them to a marriage.