Authorities in Morocco say more than 42 people have been killed and at least 25 others injured after a passenger bus plunged into a ravine in the southern part of the country Tuesday.
According to BBC News, the bus, traveling between the cities of Marrakesh and Zagora, left the road around 2 am near the town of Zerkten in Haouz province and fell nearly 500 feet. Of the vehicle’s 67 passengers, the MAP news agency said that 37 died in the crash and another 5 victims perished in the hospital.
Another 25 people were injured and taken to various local hospitals, MAP added.
“We are still in the process of identifying the bodies, as well as the injured,” a local official told the AFP news agency, adding that the cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
Following the tragic crash, Morrocco’s King Mohammed VI expressed his condolences to the families of the victims in a palace statement and announced that he would pay for their transport, funeral, and burial costs.
The Herald Sun notes that Tuesday’s crash was the worst bus accident recorded in Morocco, which has one of the world’s highest rates of traffic fatalities.
In November 2010, 24 people drowned when a bus carrying workmen tumbled into a river near the capital Rabat, and, in July, of this year, 12 people were killed in central Morocco when a cargo truck driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a bus.
According to figures from the transport ministry, more than 4,000 people died in road accidents in Morocco in 2011, an increase of 11.6 percent on the previous year.
NBC News has more on Tuesday’s tragic bus crash in Morocco in the video below: