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Crash kills 44 children
Victims, mostly aged 12-18, died when truck overturned into a ditch
- ucanews.com reporter, Chittagong
- July 12, 2011
The tragedy, which also left 12 survivors in critical condition, occurred in Mirsarai sub-district of southeastern Chittagong. Local residents said about 60-70 students mostly aged 12-18 were packed in the back of the truck.
Today, thousands of people attended a mass funeral for 38 of the students in the grounds of a local high school as the tragic news sent shock waves across the country.
Local media reported that the driver, who later fled the scene, was talking on a mobile phone when the accident happened.
Church leaders led prayers for the dead and offered condolences to the bereaved families.
â€śItâ€™s a heart-breaking accident. It happened because of a manâ€™s negligence,â€ť said coadjutor Holy Cross Archbishop Patrick Dâ€™Rozario of Dhaka.
â€śAuthorities should do more to prevent further tragedies like this taking place,â€ť the former prelate of Chittagong diocese added.
Caritas Chittagong regional director James Gomes said the emergency services called to the scene lacked necessary equipment that could have saved more lives.
â€śThe families have our full sympathy and weâ€™re sending a team today to see if Caritas can do something to help them,â€ť he said.
Bangladesh Christian Association secretary Nirmol Rozario questioned why so many children were on the truck.
â€śThere are several parties who should be taking the blame for this painful accident:Â the school administration, the driver, local authorities and law enforcement. All those students should never have been in that truck.â€ť
â€śRozario added his organization will issue a statement today demanding proper compensation for the dead children's families and call for measures to prevent further tragedies.