Tourist bus crash kills more than 20 in northern Tunisia mountains

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Security forces check the debris of a bus that plunged into a ravine, in Ain Snoussi region [Fethi Belaid/AFP]
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Agencies

A bus carrying Tunisian tourists crashed in the mountains in the country’s north on Sunday, killing 22 people and injuring 21, the interior ministry said.

The bus was travelling through the Ain Snoussi region when it plunged over a cliff, the ministry said.

The vehicle had “fallen into a ravine after crashing through an iron barrier”, it said on its Facebook page.

Local media showed images of an overturned, crumpled bus with smashed windows at the foot of a hill.

All those aboard were Tunisians, the country’s tourism ministry said.

Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Lahyoune told The Associated Press that the bus was carrying 43 people and that 21 were rushed to Amdoun and Beja hospitals with injuries.

The vehicle was headed 185 kilometres (115 miles) west from the capital Tunis to Ain Draham, a local tourist spot renowned for its mountainous reliefs on the border with Algeria.

Ain Draham is located at an altitude of 800 metres (878 yards) on the slopes of the Djebel Bir, one of the Kroumirie mountains.

High traffic death rate

The World Health Organization in 2015 said Tunisia had the second-worst traffic death rate per capita in North Africa, behind war-torn Libya.

Experts blamed run-down roads, reckless driving and poor vehicle maintenance for a rise in accidents the following year.

The authorities recognise the scale of the problem but have said the country’s security challenges, including jihadist attacks, have kept them from giving it more attention.

Following the tragic accident, the Tunisian Soccer Federation said it would observe a one-minute silence before all scheduled games on Sunday.

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