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42 killed, 24 injured in central Morocco bus accident

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO (BNO NEWS) -- More than 40 people were killed Tuesday when an overloaded passenger bus went off a road in central Morocco and plunged into a deep ravine, making it the worst such accident in the history of the kingdom, officials said on Wednesday.

The accident occurred at around 2 a.m. local time on Tuesday when the driver of a passenger bus lost control of his vehicle on a route between the desert cities of Marrakech and Ouarzzazet in the province of al Haouz. The bus was carrying nearly 70 passengers, most of whom were said to be university students.

Authorities said 42 people were killed while 24 others were injured, several of them seriously, when the bus plunged down the 150-meter (165 yards) ravine. Video footage from the scene showed the vehicle landed on its top and most of the bus was crumpled beyond recognition.

In a palace statement, King Mohammed VI sent his "most saddened condolences" to the families of the victims. "[The monarch implored] the Almighty God to shroud the victims in His mercy, and to bestow on their relatives patience and comfort, and give prompt recovery to the injured," the statement said.

King Mohammed VI also promised to pay the costs of transportation of the bodies, the expenses of their burial and funerals, as well as the hospitalization costs of the injured. The king further instructed authorities to take all necessary measures to provide assistance to the families of the victims.

It was not immediately known what caused the accident, but reports said the bus was only designed to carry a maximum of 45 passengers.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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