Monday, 28 November 2011

Six Dead in Etoile Filante Crash

Six people died when a bus carrying a Togolese football team plunged into a ravine and caught fire.

The accident happened 100 miles (160km) north of the capital, Lome, as the Etoile Filante [Shooting Star] team was travelling to a match.

In addition to the six technical staff who were killed, 25 people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries or severe burns.

Among those killed was former Togo national goalkeeper Charles Balogoun.

Reports said that a tyre burst before the bus toppled over and fell down the ravine. The accident happened on Saturday near the city of Atakpame.

"We do not know how we managed to get out of the bus," said one of the survivors, goalkeeper Mama Souleyman, according to Associated Press.

"Most of the players got out because they were all in the front row of the bus."

Images broadcast on Togolese national television showed the smouldering wreckage of the bus, almost completely burnt.

Those injured were reportedly ordered to be taken to a military hospital in the capital, Lome, by President Faure Gnassingbe.

Last year, two members of the Togo national football squad were killed after the team bus was attacked by separatist rebels in Angola.

In 2007, Togo Sports Minister Richard Attipoe was among 22 people who died when a helicopter carrying Togolese soccer fans and officials crashed in Sierra Leone after an African Cup qualifying match.