24 killed in Tunisia when bus plummets off hill

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A police investigator stands by a regional bus that crashed off a hill Sunday Dec.1, 2019, killing at least 22 local passengers who were on an excursion in the Amdoun region, northern Tunisia. The bus, which belonged to a private local company, veered of a winding road after the driver failed to maneuver a sharp turn and crashed at the bottom of a ravine. (AP Photo/Riadh Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — A bus plummeted off a hill in Tunisia on Sunday morning, killing 24 passengers who were on an excursion in the country’s north, government officials said.

The regional bus, which was carrying 43 people and belonged to a private local company, veered off a winding road after the driver failed to maneuver a sharp turn and crashed at the bottom of a ravine, the Interior Ministry said.

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

Health Ministry spokesman Chokri Nafti said that the crash left 18 people injured. Some were rushed to the nearby Amdoun and Beja hospitals, while the more seriously injured were transported to specialized hospitals in Tunis.

When it crashed, the vehicle was headed 185 kilometers (115 miles) west from capital Tunis to Ain Draham, a beautiful local tourist spot renowned for its mountainous reliefs on the border with Algeria. Ain Draham is located at an altitude of 800 meters (more than 2,600 feet) on the slopes of the Djebel Bir, one of the Kroumirie mountains.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed interrupted a visit to the south of the North African country to return to the seat of government in Kasbah where a crisis center has been set up.

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

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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