At least 10 students were killed and 27 others injured after a bus overturned on a university campus.
The crash happened Tuesday at Tehran’s Science and Research Center in Azad University, which is nestled in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains.
Seven students, two women and five men, lost their lives on the spot state TV said, while three others died in hospitals.
While families of the university students were seen outside the campus seeking information about their loved ones, the authorities dispatched anti-riot units to the scene in fear of possible outbursts of anger.
The death toll might further rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.
The deputy university dean first claimed the driver had suffered a heart attack, but a number of the students interviewed after the accident said that bus brakes were malfunctioning, leading to this tragic incident.
Eye witnesses said that the university busses were extremely unsafe and that officials did nothing to improve the fleet.
An Iranian journalist tweeted that the university´s use of a “ramshackle bus in a mountainous region” amounted to “manslaughter”.
Iran suffers from a high rate of traffic accidents, with an estimated 17,000 casualties every year. The toll is widely blamed on poor safety, the presence of older vehicles and the inadequacy of emergency services.
Iran was the world´s seventh deadliest country for drivers per capita, according to the World Health Organization´s latest figures from 2013.
A plan that could prevent the death of 10 students halted
Entekhab state-run website wrote that the accident could have been prevented if the university’s cable car project, which was to replace the depleted bus fleet, was not halted in 2016 after a change in Azad University’s management.
The project to build a cable transportation system with 72 cable cars, each large enough to hold eight people, started in 2015.
The cable cars would enable the transportation of 4,000 people every hour.
Entekhab said that the project was halted three months before its completion for unknown reasons.
“In the summer of 2016, all the equipment needed for the Science and Research Unit of the Islamic Azad University’s cable transportation system was imported into the country and was completed in terms of equipment and testing,” Entekhab wrote.
“The project progressed to about 80% and could have been launched within three months, but with the change in the management of Azad University, the project was halted,” the website wrote.