Truck slams into crowd on highway in Guatemala

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A truck plowed into a large group of people standing on the Pan-American Highway in Nahuala, Solola, Guatemala, killing at least 32, including men, women and children; leaving bodies strewn along the highway.

Guatemala's national fire and rescue service tweeted a photo from the scene, showing at least 10 victims' bodies covered with blankets lined up on the road.

The driver then fled the scene.

The hit and run occurred at km 159.5 after a crowd of people gathered on the highway after an earlier hit-and-run accident killed a local resident.

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Chacaj added the dead included 3 minors while 20 had been wounded, some seriously, and were being treated in hospitals.

The crash killed 18 people, including an eight-year-old girl, the Attorney-General's office said.

The number of fatalities has been reported at 18, with at least another nine people admitted to hospitals in a critical condition, Public Health Minister Carlos Soto said on local radio.

The crash was on the notoriously risky Interamerican highway, at kilometre 159, Guatemalan media said.

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Morales said authorities were working to support the victims' families as he offered "heartfelt condolences".

"We are now coordinating actions to provide all the support to the victims' families", he said. "I express my condolences", Morales wrote on Twitter.

Hundreds of people crowded around the morgue, located near a market, as heartbroken families took possession of coffins and bore them to a fleet of nearby pick-up trucks and cars.

Traffic rules are frequently ignored in Guatemala, a nation of some 16.5 million people.

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