In a tragic turn of events last week, 34 people were killed in a bus crash in Madagascar, including eight Operation Christmas Child volunteers and 12 graduates from The Greatest Journey discipleship program. Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham detailed the tragedy in a Facebook post early Friday morning, asking for prayers for those injured and the families who lost loved ones.
Graham said, “Thirty-four adults and children were killed in a horrific bus crash on their way to a church service in Madagascar a few days ago. There are reports of entire families being lost in the carnage. Samaritan’s Purse has worked in this country for many years…I’m thankful they knew the Savior and are now in his presence.”
According to reports, the wreck occurred when the packed bus plunged about 65 feet down a steep ravine after it struggled to climb a steep hill. The passengers were on their way to a nearby town to attend a church meeting. Unfortunately, the roads and bridges in Madagascar are often poorly maintained and these types of incidents occur frequently in the country.
“It is unimaginable what happened because the car was in good condition; the papers of the vehicle were in order. My wife and my children were among the passengers. The whole family is dead,” said Elias Ralaiarimanana, a bus driver.
The Greatest Journey discipleship program is offered through local churches around the world to children who enroll after receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. The course “teaches boys and girls how to know Christ, grow in their faith and share this Good News with others.”
Graham concluded the post saying, “Would you join us in praying for those who are grieving their loved ones and for the many injured? ‘For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens'” (2 Corinthians 5:1).