Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child volunteers killed in tragic Madagascar bus crash
Several volunteers for Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child were among those killed in a fatal bus crash in Madagascar last Tuesday.
At least 34 people died when the vehicle carrying young Christian worshippers toppled over a ridge and plunged down a steep ravine.
The packed bus was travelling from the central town of Soavinandriana to a church meeting on the north-west of the island in the port city of Mahajanga. The incident happened late at night near Ankazobe, 44 miles north-west of the capital Antananarivo.
"The bus struggled to climb a road on a hill and fell down a ravine about 20 metres deep," police spokesman Herilalatiana Andrianarisaona told AFP. 'It caught fire after rolling several times.'
Franklin Graham, chief executive of Samaritan's Purse, revealed the deaths of eight local teachers working with the organisation's Operation Christmas Child's discipleship programme plus 12 recent graduates of the programme.
'I'm thankful they knew the Savior and are now in His presence,' he wrote on Facebook.'Would you join us in praying for those who are grieving their loved ones and for the many injured?'
Pastor Saholy, who organised the trip according to The Sun, said around 140 people were on board when the crash happened around midnight.
'We are members of an association of young Christians and we were on the road to attend a pilgrimage in Mahajanga (350 miles north-west of Antananarivo) on Wednesday, when the drama happened.'