26 high school students, all girls, die in Iran field trip crash

TEHRAN –- More than two dozen high school girls were killed in southwestern Iran on Friday night when the bus they were riding in overturned during a field trip.

The driver of the bus lost control along a mountain road and overturned about 300 miles south of the capital, Tehran, killing 26, state media reported Saturday, adding that he was speeding in rainy weather. Twenty-three others were injured.

Iran has one of the world's worst traffic safety records, with about 20,000 people killed annually, according to an insurance research center that compiles the numbers each year. Police officials have had limited success in reducing crashes.

One of the injured students told a local reporter that the driver was reckless.

Amid public outrage over the deaths, especially during a school trip, a deputy education minister tried to play down the accident, saying, "Accidents happen -- some people are hurt while climbing up escalators. Certainly nobody wished for this to happen."

The students were on a field trip to the former front lines of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, according to the ILNA news agency.

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-- Ramin Mostaghim

 
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