At least 33 children were killed when a bus caught fire in northern Colombia, trapping the young passengers aboard the burning vehicle as horrified onlookers stood by helplesslyThe bus was transporting 48 children between the ages of 2 and 13 to their homes after a Pentecostal church service when the tragedy happened Sunday in Fundacion, a sugar- and banana-growing town near the Caribbean coast.
Witnesses quoted by El Heraldo, the newspaper in nearby Barranquilla, said the bus stalled and that the driver tried to restart it by pouring gasoline over the carburetor. A spark caused an explosion, and flames quickly engulfed the vehicle, the report said. [Link in Spanish]
Residents said they heard screams for help but were unable to intervene due to the intense heat of the flames.
“I never saw anything so terrifying,” said taxi driver Alvaro del Valle.
“They came to speak with God and look what happened,” added Clara Lopez, a local resident.