Shock and grief gripped Arusha, Tanzania early Saturday when 32 school children died after a mini bus they were travelling in plunged into a gorge in Karatu near the famous Ngorongoro crater.
The crash occurred at 9 am, according to the district commissioner for Karatu Theresia Mahongo.
“Many school children have been killed. I can’t confirm the exact figure now”, the commissioner said on phone.
Reports from eye witnesses and education officials in Karatu, 150 kilometres from Arusha said out of the 32 who died, 29 were children, two teachers and the driver.
The children are from St. Lucky Vincent private school located at Kwa Mrombo suburb of Arusha city and were travelling to Karatu to do a joint mock examination with a partner school, Tumaini.
Reports stated that the bus skidded off the road and plunged into the gorge at Marera in Rhotia area, a few kilometres before Karatu town on the Arusha road.
Bodies of the deceased were taken to the city mortuary in Arusha late Saturday. Survivors were also taken to hospitals in Arusha.
It is common for schools in Arusha to travel and Karatu as well as the Ngorongoro Crater and the nearby national parks for study tours.