Ten students were killed in a bus accident at one of Tehran´s largest universities, the state-run Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday.
The bus was carrying 30 students along a mountainous road within the science research campus of the Islamic Azad University in northwestern Tehran when it came off the road and hit a concrete column on Tuesday.
Seven were killed instantly, state TV said, while an updated death toll of 10 was reported by Tasnim with the names of the victims and the injured students, the day after the crash.
Iran was the world´s seventh deadliest country for drivers per capita, according to the World Health Organization´s latest figures from 2013, with an estimated 17,000 casualties every year, and is the only non-African country apart from Thailand in the top 10.
The toll is widely blamed on poor safety, the presence of older vehicles and the inadequacy of emergency services.
The university blamed Tuesday´s crash on the driver having a stroke, but Iranians on social media pointed to its aged bus fleet and lack of road maintenance with some people saying that the bus brakes had failed.
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”.
University cable car project halted before completion
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.
“After 30 months, the cable car project is still at a standstill with its modern equipment abandoned in the university’s warehouse.”
The danger of such accidents threatens the lives of the 40,000 students and thousands of employees who commute to the university every day, but there is still no news on the recommencement of the cable car project and student are forced to use the outdated dangerous transportation system.