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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

TweetThis! 5 Dead In Van Rollover Near Tucson, Arizona [updated] Burundi nationals from Tanzania refugee camp

12 Others Airlifted To Tucson, Phoenix Hospitals
Five people were killed Wednesday afternoon when a large passenger van rolled over on Interstate 10 East of Tucson, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said. Twelve passengers were airlifted in 11 different helicopters to local area trauma centers. Jean Spinelli, a spokeswoman at University Medical Center, the only trauma center in southern Arizona, said six of the 11 survivors brought in from the crash were listed in critical condition and the other five in serious condition. A total of 17 people were riding in the vehicle, DPS officers said.

The driver of a van filled with refugees from Africa lost control and crashed on a southern Arizona highway Wednesday, killing five people and injuring 12 others, authorities said. The director of a relief agency in Tucson said the van passengers were from the small eastern African nation of Burundi who had fled to a Tanzanian refugee camp before having relocated to Tucson.

The identities of the driver, passengers and owner of the van are being withheld pending next of kin notification, DPS said.

The van was traveling eastbound when it lost control and rolled over in the Texas Canyon area, DPS officers said. The vehicle rolled over a guard rail, down an embankment and landed on its wheels at about 2 p.m. in the oncoming lane of Interstate 10 Wednesday about 50 miles East of Tucson (70 miles West of New Mexico).

The group was seeking work at Eurofresh Inc., a hydroponics vegetable grower in Willcox, Ariz., said Ken Briggs, executive director of the International Rescue Committee's (IRC) Tucson office. Eurofresh has become a major southern Arizona employer of refugees seeking to become self-sufficient. Burundians had been living in Tucson for a few years. The IRC, which has 24 regional offices in the United States, helps refugees resettle and become self-sufficient. It also helps with emergency relief, human rights protection and rehabilitation.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Info source: AzFamily (Tv video), KPHO, AP Associate Press

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