Ghana highway bus crash kills at least 53

Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:23am GMT

ACCRA (Reuters) - At least 53 people died in Ghana when a bus hit a truck head-on some 420 km (260 miles) north of the capital Accra overnight, witnesses and police said on Thursday, in the country's deadliest road crash in years.

The Metro Mass Transit coach was heading to the northern town of Tamale from the second-largest city of Kumasi when it collided with a cargo truck loaded with boxes of tomatoes, regional police chief Maxwell Atingane told Reuters.

"Many of the passengers on the bus died on the spot," Atingane said, adding that about 23 others were injured, some seriously, and were being treated at a local hospital.

Atingane said initial accounts of the cause of the crash cited a mechanical failure on the bus, but he added that the police were investigating.

A witness said the scene was "pathetic and gory" and passengers were trapped in the bus wreckage. "There were human bodies strewn around," said George Blah, a resident. President John Mahama sent a tweet expressing condolences over the deaths.

Ghana, like many other African countries, has a relatively high rate of road deaths due in part to narrow and poorly constructed roads, failure by drivers to respect speed limits and inadequate vehicle maintenance.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Hugh Lawson)

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