39 killed as flee­ing bus crashes into pa­rade

New Straits Times - - World -

PORT-AU-PRINCE: At least 38 peo­ple were killed and about a dozen in­jured in north­ern Haiti af­ter a bus drove into a pa­rade of pedes­tri­ans while flee­ing from an ac­ci­dent, civil pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties said on Sun­day.

The bus, which was trav­el­ling from Cap Hai­tien to the cap­i­tal Port-au-Prince late Satur­day , ini­tially hit two peo­ple in a town out­side Gon­aives in north­ern Haiti, killing one, said Joseph Faustin, civil pro­tec­tion head in the Art­i­bonite de­part­ment.

The bus driver then fled and crashed into three “rara” pa­rades in Mapou, about 5km away, Faustin said.

Rara pa­rades, which usu­ally take place around Easter, are groups of mu­si­cians play­ing tra­di­tional in­stru­ments who are of­ten joined by passers-by.

In to­tal, 34 peo­ple were killed at the scene and an an­other four peo­ple died in hos­pi­tal, said Fred Henry, the area’s deputy rep­re­sen­ta­tive, who added that the in­ci­dent had oc­curred around 4am.

“Usu­ally the driv­ers in­volved in such ac­ci­dents don’t stop be­cause they are afraid they might be killed (in reprisal),” Henry said.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear what caused the ac­ci­dent.

The driver and pas­sen­gers on the bus were taken to the po­lice sta­tion, said Pa­trick Cher­ilus, a Civil Pro­tec­tion spokesman for Art­i­bonite.

They had since been re­leased and the bus driver had fled, said Jean Ba­zlais Bor­nelus, the po­lice chief for the area.

Af­ter the ac­ci­dent, other mu­si­cians and peo­ple in the pa­rade be­gan hurl­ing rocks at the bus and pass­ing ve­hi­cles, in­jur­ing other peo­ple, said Al­bert Moulion, the Min­istry of the In­te­rior’s spokesman.

Haitian roads are dan­ger­ous and chaotic, with few rules ob­served by pedes­tri­ans, mo­tor­cy­clists and driv­ers.

Pres­i­dent Jovenel Moise called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent.

“The head of state sends ... sin­cere con­do­lences to the victims’ fam­i­lies and loved ones,” he said.

REUTERS PIC

The bus, which drove into pedes­tri­ans, at the po­lice sta­tion in Gon­aives, Haiti.

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