At least 18 people were killed and about the same number injured in western Guatemala after they were hit by an articulated truck, firefighters said.
A group of people had gathered on the dark road at the site of an earlier hit-and-run accident, which had killed one person, when the truck struck them.
The truck was apparently travelling without its headlights on. The driver did not stop.
“With regret, I’m saddened by the tragedy which happened in the municipality of Nahuala, Solola, which has left more than 30 people dead in a traffic accident,” Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said in a tweet in Spanish.
The death toll was later revised to 18.
Con mucho pesar lamento la tragedia ocurrida en el municipio de Nahualá, Sololá que ha dejado más de 30 fallecidos a causa de un accidente de tránsito. En estos momentos estamos coordinando acciones para brindar todo el apoyo a los familiares de las víctimas. Mi sentido pésame.
— Jimmy Morales (@jimmymoralesgt) March 28, 2019
Morales said authorities were working to support the victims’ families as he offered “heartfelt condolences”.
The incident happened at kilometre 158 of the Pan-American route, about 90 kilometres east of Guatemala City.
“It seems that the semi-trailer did not notice the number of the people on the roadway and ran them over,” Cecilio Chacaj, a spokesman for the local fire department, said.
The crash marked one of the country’s worst traffic accidents in recent years. In 2013, a bus plunged off a cliff in rural Guatemala, killing at least 43 people and injuring dozens.
Guatemala, a Central American country of some 16.5 million people, has a poor road safety record and traffic rules are frequently ignored.