Pope Francis expressed his great sorrow for the tragic death of nearly 40 migrants in a deadly bus crash in Panama, in a telegram of condolence sent on his behalf by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on Thursday.
In the telegram, written in Spanish, the Pope joined in the grief of the families and friends of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Pope Francis concluded his message by giving them “a heartfelt Apostolic Blessing, as a sign of hope in the Risen Lord.”
The tragic crash
According to authorities, at least 39 migrants were killed and about 20 more were injured early Wednesday, when the bus they were riding in western Panama tumbled off a cliff. The migrants had crossed the Darien Gap from Colombia.
The President of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, said, via Twitter, “This news is regrettable for Panama and for the region.”
According to AP, it was the worst accident involving migrants in Panama in at least a decade.
In recent years, the flow of migrants through Panama has grown as more risked the dangerous crossing as they tried to make their way north to the United States.