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38 women die after falling off flatbed truck while being transported to dance for king

By Mason White 12:42 PM August 31, 2015
Reed dance illustration 

By: Chan Yuan
38 women and girls were pronounced dead after their truck crashed into another vehicle.

Police in Swaziland, arrested the driver of the flatbed truck after he crashed into another vehicle while transporting a total of 50 people.

The girls and young women were killed on their way to join thousands of people in a traditional festival, the annual reed dance.

The dance consists of tens of thousands of topless teenage girls and young childless women dancing for King Mswati.

The 46-year-old driver appeared in court on Saturday, on charges of negligence after the truck he was driving crashed into the rear of another vehicle, causing the girls and women to fall out of the truck.

The male driver was employed by the government. He remains in police custody after prosecutors opposed bail, saying that many of the victims are still in the hospital.

About 40,000 girls and young women participate in the ceremony, which lasts 8 days. Sometimes, during the festival, the king choose a young woman to become his wife. The king has more than 12 wives.