Twenty-nine pupils comprising 12 boys and 17 girls lost their lives this morning when the bus conveying them to an examination veered off the road and plunged into a river.
Two of their teachers and the bus driver also died.
The incident, which happened near Karatu, northern part of Tanzania, threw the East African country into deep mourning.
The children, aged 12 to 13, were standard seven pupils at the Lucky Vincent school in the nearby town of Arusha, according to Charles Mkumbo, the regional police commander.
“We lost 29 students and two of our staff, and the driver died too,” said Innocent Mushi, director of the Lucky Vincent Primary School in Arusha.
The dead included 12 boys and 17 girls, he said.
President John Magufuli has commiserated with the families of the students in a statement, describing the accident as a “national tragedy.”
Regional police commander, Mkumbo confirmed the death toll to the media, adding that several children escaped with injuries.
Rescue operations were launched immediately after the accident to recover the bodies.
The accident was believed to have been caused by rainfall in the hilly area, but the police commander said they were investigating the incident.