Togo bus crash kills six; soccer players injured

Story highlights

  • The victims were members of the Etoile Filante soccer club
  • 25 people are injured, a spokesman says
  • Soccer in Togo has suffered a series of misfortunes in recent years
Six members of the Etoile Filante soccer club died in a bus accident on Saturday in Togo and 25 people were injured, said a spokesman for the country's soccer federation.
The team was headed to Sokode, where it was scheduled to play Sunday, when a tire reportedly burst, causing the bus to flip and catch fire, said Aime Ekpe, the spokesman.
"Twenty-five others, including some players, are severely injured. Most of the victims died in the fire," Ekpe said. He spoke to CNN from the scene of the accident in Glei, about 81 miles (130 km) north of Lome, Togo's capital.
Among the victims were Christophe Dagbovi, the club's secretary-general, Isidore Kouma, the deputy coach, and Charles Balogou, a former national team goalkeeper.
Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe issued a statement soon after the accident, offering condolences to the victims' families.
Soccer in the West African country has suffered a series of misfortunes in recent years.
Gunmen attacked a bus carrying Togo's national soccer team to a tournament in Angola in 2010, killing the team coach and the director of communications.
A helicopter carrying 22 Togolese soccer officials, including Sports Minister Richard Attipoe, crashed in Sierra Leone in 2007. No one survived.