33 pilgrims Christians died in bus crash in Mexico


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From: (Copy from CTV news)
Date: 10/14/02
Time: 9:52:18 PM
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(33 pilgrims Christians died in bus crash in Mexico)

From: (Copy from CTV news)



Updated Tue. Aug. 6 2002 10:06 PM ET

Bus crash in Mexico kills at least 33 pilgrims Advertisement

Associated PressMEXICO CITY The brakes apparently failed on a bus Tuesday before it plowed through a highway toll booth and slammed into a concrete wall in western Mexico, killing at least 33 people -- 10 of them children -- headed for a re-enactment of the Last Supper.

About 20 people were injured.The 1976-model bus had picked up passengers in the Pacific coast state Guerrero and was headed to the city Guadalajara when the accident occurred in Zinapecuaro, 177 kilometres west of Mexico City.Passengers were thrown through the bus windows in the crash, which scattered wreckage and bodies along hundreds of metres of roadway.

The most severely injured were taken 50 kilometres to hospitals in Morelia, the Michoacan state capital, said local emergency services director Juan Alberto Valdez.Felipe Avila, the Zinapecuaro director of civil defencde, reported 10 children were among the dead."We got to the scene, there were a lot of bodies lying on the highway, and people were screaming in pain,"Avila said.

"The vehicle was just shredded.''Both Avila and Valdez put the death toll at 35.But Michoacan state officials said 33 people were confirmed dead. They gave no explanation for the discrepancy.The victims all were members of the Luz Del Mundo, or Light of the World, a conservative Christian church based in Guadalajara and were planning to participate in the annual re-enactment of the Last Supper that draws up to 300,000 people."This is a very sad situation, we are all very upset," church spokesman Eliezer Gutierrez said."In the 68 years the church has hosted this celebration, we have never had a tragedy of this magnitude.

''"This year's celebration will go on as scheduled," Gutierrez said."We feel that would have been their wish."Federal highway police said they detected evidence of a failure in the bus's brake system, the government news agency Notimex reported. The bus was operated by the Costa Grande bus line, a local carrier.

The church was offering legal and medical aid to the victims and "would support them, if they so decided"to take legal action against those responsible for the crash, Gutierrez said.It was the latest in a string of fatal bus crashes in recent months in Mexico involving speeding, poorly maintained vehicles or poor road conditions.