Dozens killed in Zambia as bus crashes into truck

At least 53 people have been killed and 22 injured in one of the country’s worst traffic accidents

At least 53 people have been killed in Zambia after a bus carrying passengers to the capital Lusaka smashed into a truck and a car on Thursday, in one of the country’s worst traffic accidents.

The crash happened in the morning near the town of Chifamba, about 60 miles north of Lusaka, police spokeswoman Elizabeth Kanjela said. Images carried by local media showed rescuers climbing over the smashed-in front-end of the white bus. Other images showed corpses lying next to the two-lane highway that connects the capital to neighbouring Tanzania.

Kennedy Sakeni, Zambia’s information minister, said at least 53 people died in the crash, while 22 others had been taken to local hospitals.

Zambia’s postal service runs the bus routes throughout the country, carrying passengers and mail through the nation of 13 million people. The crash happened as a sports utility vehicle tried to pass the bus and ran head-on into the truck, sending the truck into the bus’s path, district commissioner Priscilla Chisha said.

Kanjela said rescuers still could not get into the bus to see if any other bodies remained inside, even hours after the crash. Police were continuing their investigation on Thursday night. The two-lane highway where the crash happened is known for having high traffic, even during the night.

In a statement, President Michael Sata said he had sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

“Allow me on behalf of my Cabinet, the First Lady and indeed on my own behalf to convey my deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” Sata said. “We pray that the Lord almighty grants the bereaved families comfort and strength during this very painful period.”

The crash represented one of the worst for Zambia in recent years. In April 2005 a truck packed with high school students skidded off a mountain road in northern Zambia, killing at least 38 and seriously injuring a further 50. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds