Haiti road accident leaves 17 dead, 18 injured

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) - A road accident left 17 dead and 18 injured on Saturday morning in Haiti as a truck crammed with passengers and other goods crashed while trying to avoid a vehicle, an official said.

"A truck carrying about 30 people, planks of wood and coal overturned, apparently trying to avoid a motorcycle that had three passengers," said Jean-Henry Petit, the civil protection department's technical coordinator for the Nord department.

The truck was en route from Saint-Raphael, a town some 40km from Cap-Haitien, and had almost reached its destination when the accident occurred, Petit said.

"No one who was in the truck or on the bike was spared in the accident," Petit added.

Civil protection officers, firefighters and Haitian Red Cross teams helped with the rescue effort at the crash site, about 6km from downtown Cap-Haitien.

One woman died midday from her injuries, while 16 others, including one of the passengers on the motorcycle, died at the scene.

The victims' bodies were being kept at a public hospital before being returned to their families.

The 18 injured were transferred to medical centers in Cap-Haitien.

Of these, 13 people are in serious condition, Petit said.