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At least 27 killed in Haiti road accident

world Updated: Apr 09, 2012 12:06 IST

At least 27 people were killed in a major road accident in Haiti when a truck carrying people overturned on a highway south of Haiti's capital, hospital officials said.

"By now, we have counted 27 dead," Joel Charles, hospital director in the town of Petit-Goave, told AFP by phone. "Seriously injured people have passed away, and we have other people in critical condition."

Earlier reports put the death toll at 20, while 40 were reported injured.

The accident occurred late Saturday afternoon when a truck carrying small retail traders, many of them women, tipped over on National Highway 2, near a community known as Morne Tapion.

In addition to passengers, the vehicle was overloaded with bags of food and other merchandise, a typical way to transport goods in Haiti.

A local judge who witnessed the accident said the truck was climbing a steep incline when it lost its balance and went tumbling down.

"This is a dangerous road where accidents occur frequently," said the witness who preferred to withhold his name.

Four people were killed and a dozen injured in an accident in the same area just last week.

Seventeen people were confirmed dead at the scene on Saturday, according to Charles. Ten more succumbed to their injuries after ambulances of the Haitian Red Cross took them to hospital.

Overall about 40 people have been hospitalized, many with serious injuries, the doctor said.

"Some of the injuries are critical, a lot of head trauma and broken bones. We need surgeons, other medical specialists and ambulances" Charles said. "The victims need to be transported to hospitals in Port-au-Prince."

Petit-Goave has only one modest hospital. But the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders, which has been operating in the region since the 2010 earthquake, helped local authorities to evacuate many of the injured to other medical facilities.

"The city's capacities are overwhelmed by this accident, and we need medical staff," a local radio reporter pleaded on air.

The impoverished Caribbean nation's infrastructure is in generally disastrous shape after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, which killed some 250,000 people, and left roads and buildings in and around the capital in ruins.

Over half a million Haitians still live in camps for the displaced, where they are threatened by flooding at the start of a rainy season that has already ravaged streets and roads.

In January, at least 26 people were killed and 56 injured in a massive pile-up along a road on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

That accident took place on a road connecting the capital city with the nearby town of Delmas.

Officials said about 10 cars, including some taxi cabs, were completely destroyed in the accident.