Skip to main content

31 children killed after bus catches fire in Colombia

By Nelson Quiñones and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 9:10 PM EDT, Tue May 20, 2014
Colombian police stand alongside recovered bodies of children who died in a burned bus in Fundacion, Colombia.
Colombian police stand alongside recovered bodies of children who died in a burned bus in Fundacion, Colombia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: 31 children were killed when a bus caught fire
  • NEW: Colombia's President is in the municipality where the bus fire occurred
  • The bus was picking up children from a church, police say
  • Authorities are investigating what caused the deadly blaze

(CNN) -- A bus packed with children burst into flames in Colombia on Sunday, killing at least 32 people, officials said.

The bus was picking up children from an event at a church in Fundacion, Colombia, when the blaze began, Col. Adan Leon told CNN affiliate Caracol TV.

"Everyone started to scream and run," a child who was on the bus told Caracol, describing how he escaped through a window.

Victims of the deadly fire included 31 children and one adult, Harry Aaron, a civil defense official in Magdalena department, told CNN.

Authorities are investigating what caused the fire, Leon told Caracol.

One witness told Caracol that the driver went to get a drink and left children to put gasoline into the vehicle's tank.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expressed condolences on Twitter Sunday and traveled to the northern Colombian municipality to be with victims.

"The country is in mourning," he said.

48 die in bus crash

No evidence of fire before FedEx truck crashes into bus

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Explore CNN's interactive that explains ISIS' roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from.
updated 4:10 PM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
In his first-ever interview as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani defended his country against allegations of funding terrorism.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
The U.S. and several Arab nations carried out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, intensifying the campaign against the militant group.
updated 12:45 PM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
A mysterious Chicago fire and possible suicide attempt causes massive disruption in the U.S.
updated 11:03 AM EDT, Sat September 27, 2014
The North Korean leader hasn't been seen for weeks, leading to speculation that he is in poor health.
updated 9:54 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Haider al-Abadi hopes airstrikes don't lead to "of another terrorist element" instead of ISIS.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
The United States couldn't do it on its first try. Neither could the Soviets.
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Emma Watson lent her name and her glittery profile to the cause of feminism at the United Nations.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
CNN's Nima Elbagir reflects on a harrowing trip to Liberia where she covered the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Contrary to public opinion, rats can actually save lives -- Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT