11 YWAM missionaries reported dead in Tanzania bus crash

A road accident that occurred in the Ngaramtoni suburb of Arusha, northern Tanzania, led to the deaths of at least 15 people, including three foreigners. Twelve others were seriously injured in the accident involving four vehicles on February, 24, 2024.(Photo: YouTube/Wasafi Media)

(CP) Eleven missionaries with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) died in a tragic traffic accident on Saturday near Arusha, Tanzania. The incident, involving multiple vehicles, also claimed the lives of several others, including the bus driver.

"It is morning time in Tanzania, and we are deeply saddened to confirm the passing of another three of our dear missionaries as a result of the tragic traffic accident," YWAM said in a Sunday morning update about the death toll. "Eleven of our friends are now with Jesus. Two are still in critical condition in the hospital.

"As a movement, we gather around all those impacted by this tragedy, their families, and their communities. We are working to meet all the pressing practical, financial, and emotional needs that arise," YWAM added, along with a link where people can donate.

On Saturday, YWAM confirmed the loss of their members in a statement on its website when initial reports indicated that eight members had perished in the accident.

"It is with great sadness that we are confirming that 8 of our dearly loved friends and honored missionaries have passed away as a result of the tragic traffic accident," the ministry said. "Additionally, several others, including the bus driver, have also passed away."

The organization expressed deep sorrow over the incident, extending condolences to the families, friends and team members affected.

For security reasons, the names and nationalities of the deceased missionaries remain confidential. YWAM says it's in the process of contacting the families of those who have died or are in critical condition, providing updates as they become available.

One of the two buses involved, carrying YWAM leaders and candidates, sustained significant damage, while the other returned safely to the YWAM campus in Arusha. Several individuals were reported to be in critical condition and receiving medical attention in local hospitals.

YWAM has urged the public to avoid spreading unconfirmed reports about the accident, emphasizing respect for the privacy of the families involved. It encouraged sharing official updates to ensure accurate information is disseminated.

According to Xinhua, the accident claimed at least 15 lives, including three foreigners, and injured 12 others. The collision, which involved four vehicles, was attributed to a suspected brake failure of a truck in the Ngaramtoni suburb of Arusha.

Justine Masejo, the Arusha regional commissioner, detailed the accident's circumstances and its impact on the local community. Among the vehicles involved was one carrying students and teachers from New Vision School of Arusha and a public bus.

The injured were taken to major hospitals in the city, including Mount Meru referral hospital and Selian Lutheran Hospital, for treatment.

In its first update published early Saturday morning, the ministry said, "Two hours ago, we learned of a bus accident in Arusha, Tanzania, with YWAMers who had gathered there attending a University of the Nations Executive Masters course intensive. Facilitators and candidates of the course were traveling together in two buses, when one was hit by a truck."

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