Thirty-five people have died after a bus carrying more than 100 members of the Zion Christian Church crashed Thursday night near the town of Chimanimani, in eastern Zimbabwe, according to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
The fatal accident occurred at around 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m.ET), when the bus carrying 106 members of the church “went out of the road and fell into a gorge,” the ZRP said on Twitter.
Police also said 71 people were injured in the accident.
“The bodies of the victims were taken to Chipinge Hospital for post-mortem while the injured were referred to the same institution for treatment, with 13 being critically injured,” ZRP said.
Road traffic crashes, including fatal accidents, have been on the increase in Zimbabwe, according to official figures.
Zimbabwe’s official road traffic death rate rose from 1,836 in 2016 to an average of 2,000 fatalities per year between 2017 and 2019, averaging over five deaths per day, according to the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ). The World Health Organization estimates that the true figure could be three times higher, according to a recent United Nations report.
Zimbabwe loses an average of 3% of its gross domestic product yearly to road crashes, the TSCZ said in 2017.