April 10, 2015 / 9:55 AM / 5 years ago

Thirty-three people killed, mostly children, in bus crash in Morocco

RABAT (Reuters) - At least 33 people were killed, most of them children, when a bus burst into flames after colliding with a gas tanker in Morocco on Friday, a local official and a rights group said.

“We have many completely carbonized bodies. Authorities have been in contact with the bus company to identify the victims,” said Benmane Fadli, regional director of the transportation ministry.

The bus had been heading from the coastal city of Benslimane to Laayoune in Western Sahara when the crash happened near the southern city of Tan-Tan.

Most of the victims were children returning from a school athletic competition in Benslimane, the Tan-Tan bureau of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) said in a statement.

Authorities did not confirm the AMDH statement.

The bus collided with a gas tanker at Shbeka town, around 60 km (40 miles) south of Tan-Tan, AMDH said. Ten people were injured and five had left hospital after treatment, it added.

Road accidents have been increasing in Morocco, where car ownership has nearly doubled in 15 years. Official statistics say an average of 10 people die every day in traffic accidents.

Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Roche

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