Monday April 15, 2024

24 killed after minibus plunges into ravine in Morocco

Passengers were travelling to a local weekly market

By Web Desk
August 06, 2023
A file photo of Moroccan security forces searching for bodies in a bus wreckage in southern Morocco in September 2019. — AFP/File
A file photo of Moroccan security forces searching for bodies in a bus wreckage in southern Morocco in September 2019. — AFP/File

At least 24 people were killed after a minibus carrying market-goers in Morocco plunged into a ravine on Sunday, in one of the North African country's worst-ever road accidents, according to officials.

Passengers in Demnate, Azilal, were on a mountainous route to a weekly market when a minibus overturned on a bend. Images on local media showed the vehicle crushed at the ravine bottom.

Youssef Makhloufi, the director of the Demnate Hospital confirmed to local media that "all the passengers are dead," adding that at least two women and a child were among the victims.

Although accidents are frequent on the roads of Morocco and other North African countries, which see thousands of road deaths annually, local authorities have launched an investigation into the horrific accident.

Additionally, 11 people, mostly agricultural workers, died in March when their minibus slammed into a tree after the driver lost control in the rural town of Brachoua, local officials said at the time.

According to AFP, many poorer citizens use coaches and minibuses to travel in rural areas.

In August last year, 23 people were killed and 36 injured when their bus overturned on a bend east of Morocco's economic capital Casablanca.

An average of 3,500 road deaths and 12,000 injuries are recorded annually in Morocco, according to the National Road Safety Agency, with an average of 10 deaths per day. The figure last year was around 3,200.

Authorities have set out to halve the mortality rate by 2026 ever since the worst bus accident in the country's history left 42 dead in 2012.

In neighbouring Algeria, 34 people were killed on July 19 when a passenger bus collided head-on with a pickup truck carrying fuel cans and burst into flames, deep in the southern Sahara region, officials said.

Algeria's deadliest road crash in years also left 12 others injured, many with severe burns, Algeria's civil defence agency said.

One of Tunisia's worst road accidents occurred in 2019 when a bus plunged into a ravine, killing at least 24 Tunisians and injuring 18 others.

Libya's roads have ranked among the deadliest in the world with the Libyan interior ministry's traffic department recording 4,115 road accidents across the country in 2018, with 2,500 people killed and more than 3,000 others injured.

About 7,000 people lost their lives on the roads of Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, in 2020, according to official figures.