The government announced three days of national mourning beginning Monday, January 9, as forty people were killed and 85 injured when two buses crashed in a head-on collision overnight on an arterial road in Senegal’s central Kaffrine region.
Images of the incident showed the completely mangled front end of a white bus, with blood-flecked seats, personal items and a shoe strewn around the tree-lined crash site. Road accidents are common in Senegal, largely because of driver error, poor roads and decrepit vehicles, say experts, but the latest disaster has caused one of the heaviest losses of life from a single incident in recent years.
In a statement, the government announced three days of national mourning with flags to be flown at half-mast throughout the country.
“In view of this tragedy, the head of state extends his deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured,” the government said.
Public prosecutor, Cheikh Dieng, said in a statement that early investigations suggested a public passenger bus suffered a burst tire and swerved off course.
It then crashed “head-on with another bus coming in the opposite direction,” he said.
According to the statement, the incident happened around 0330 GMT on Saturday.
Colonel Cheikh Fall, who heads operations for the National Fire Brigade, told AFP the victims were taken to a hospital and medical center in Kaffrine. The wreckage has since been cleared and normal traffic has resumed on the road, he said.