BEIRUT: At least nine people were killed and 29 others injured in a horrific accident when a bus carrying Syrian families from the Aleppo countryside overturned Friday morning on the Damascus Highway in the town of Kahaleh, Aley.
The driver lost control of the vehicle due to brake failure around 5 a.m. when he failed to negotiate the sharp turn, according to police sources.
Footage broadcast on news networks showed the mangled remains of the bus where it came to rest on the pavement after flipping, trapping passengers underneath. The bodies of several young children were seen being rushed from the site of the accident.
An employee at Bashar Sukhni travel agency in Syria, Mohammad Hammoud, told The Daily Star by telephone that the passengers – all from Manbij in the governorate of Aleppo – were Syrian workers and their families. He did not know their exact number.
Hammoud identified the driver by his first name, Jassem, but could not confirm whether he was among the dead.
Lebanese Red Cross and Civil Defense teams worked for three hours to rescue survivors, who were rushed to nearby hospitals, including Saint Charles in Fayyadieh.
The bus, registered in Syria’s northeastern province of Hassakeh, was headed to Beirut when the accident occurred and the road remained closed for several hours until debris could be removed. The section of the Kahaleh highway where the accident took place has been the site of numerous traffic accidents, sometimes serious.