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World News

Pope expresses sorrow after 39 killed in Panama's worst migration accident

by Donna Birrell

The Pope has expressed great sorrow for the victims and families of at least 39 people who have been killed in a bus crash in Panama.

Those killed had been attempting the dangerous crossing from Colombia through Panama while travelling to the United States. The bus, which was carrying more than 60 people, tumbled off a cliff in western Panama having just crossed the Darien Gap, a dangerous stretch of jungle that connects Colombia to Central America. Authorities say the bus was heading towards a shelter for refugees.

In a telegram of condolence sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin, Pope Francis said he joined in the grief of the families and friends of the deceased and was praying for the injured. 

About 20 of the passengers were hospitalized with injuries, some of them severely wounded.

Panama's authorities say the crash is the worst migration accident in the country's history.

Last year, almost 250,000 migrants crossed the Darien Gap, most of them Venezuelans. A new, stricter U.S. migration policy has resulted in many being returned to Panama.





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