A bus rammed into a crowd in Haiti, killing at least 34 and injuring 15 others. Photo Courtesy:-Daily Times

A runaway bus rammed into a crowd in the Haitian city of Gonaives, killing at least 34 and injuring 15 others, officials said on Sunday.

The accident took place early on Sunday (12 March) in the city of Gonaives located about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince.The matador bus was travelling from Cap Haitien to Port-au-Prince at the time of the incident.

The incident happened when the driver of the bus mowed down two pedestrians, killing one, then rammed into a group of street musicians (three bands of Rara musicians) when it tried to escape from the scene, authorities said. Rara musicians – a group of Haitian street performers (musicians) playing traditional instruments, during a “rara” parade.

“First, the bus plowed into two pedestrians, killing one of them, and injuring the other,” Marie-Alta Jean Baptiste, head of Haiti’s civil protection office, told AFP.

The horrific accident sparked a huge rescue operation attended by ambulance crews and firefighters. Emergency workers transported quickly the wounded people to the nearby hospital, while the police tried to control a baying mob that gathered at the accident scene.

“The people who were not victims of the accident tried to burn the bus with the passengers inside,” said Faustin Joseph, civic protection coordinator for the department of Artibonite area. “The bus, the passengers and the driver were all placed into the care of the local authorities.”

The driver and passengers on the bus were being held at the police station, said Patrick Cherilus, a Civil Protection spokesman for the department of Artibonite region.

After the accident, other groups of musician and local people in the parade began hurling rocks at the bus and passing vehicles, injuring other people, said Albert Moulion, the Ministry of the Interior’s spokesman.

Haitian roads are slipshod management and dangerous, with few rules observed by pedestrians, drivers and motorcyclists.

The reason for the accident is unknown so far.