DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 19 people were killed on Thursday night in Tanzania's southern highlands region of Songwe after their minibus collided head-on with a lorry that was heading to Dar es Salaam from a border town of Tunduma, according to police reports.
Henry Kagwa, the Songwe Regional Hospital Medical Officer, said Friday 17 of the victims died on the spot and two others were pronounced dead at the hospital.
He said the grisly accident occurred at around 9 p.m. on Thursday at Senjele Hill in Mbozi district, just a few kilometers on the border between Songwe and Mbeya districts.
Kagwa said the dead were 15 females and four males.
Eyewitnesses said the lorry appeared to have failed its brakes before it hit another lorry in the opposite direction that was heading to Songwe district, and it finally collided with the minibus traveling to Tunduma.
The witnesses said the lorry was ferrying maize.
Songwe Regional Commissioner Nicodemus Mwangela was among people who arrived at the scene of accident to rescue the victims.
President John Magufuli sent a condolence message to the Songwe Regional Commissioner following the deaths of the 19 people.
The president ordered relevant authorities in Songwe region to launch an investigation to establish the cause of the accident and take relevant measures, said a statement released by the Directorate of Presidential Communication at State House in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.