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At least 29 final year primary school pupils have been killed in a bus crash in northern Tanzania, the school’s director says.
“We lost 29 students and two of our staff, and the driver died too,” said Innocent Mushi, director of the Lucky Vincent Primary School, in the northern city of Arusha. The dead included 12 boys and 17 girls, he said.
At least three survivors were pulled from the crash site by rescuers and rushed to hospital.
“It’s a huge tragedy,” Mushi said.
The accident happened early on Saturday when the bus went off the road and into the Marera river gorge in Karatu district.
The final year primary pupils – commonly aged between 12 and 14 years old – were on their way to sit mock examinations ahead of seeking places at secondary school.
President John Magufuli sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
“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,” Magufuli said in a statement.
Africa has the world’s highest per capita rate of road deaths though it has roughly just 2 percent of the world’s vehicles.
Poor infrastructure and maintenance are widespread in the continent.
More than 11,000 people were killed in road accidents in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016, according to government data.