Families and friends are mourning the loss of 11 YWAM students and staff while two key mission leaders remain in critical condition after a bus crashed in Tanzania. 

On Saturday, February 24, two buses filled with those taking the YWAM leadership course headed on a field trip to Maasai land, where they observed a thriving community development program. On their way back a truck allegedly lost its brakes and crashed into one of the buses.

“We have not seen a tragedy of this magnitude in all of YWAM’s history and we are all devastated,” wrote YWAM cofounder Darlene Cunningham in a letter dated February 26. 

The accident reportedly had four vehicles involved and two dozen fatalities. Eleven YWAM students and staff died in the accident while 10 survived with two of those in critical condition. John Mukolwe, a Kenyan and the base leader of the area was among the dead.

"The students attracted to the Executive Masters were the same caliber of people—life-long committed YWAM missionary pioneers. So their deaths create a massive vacuum in this part of the world for YWAM as a missionary movement."

According to police, the people who died were from Kenya, Togo, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Nigeria, and the U.S.A.

“Those who survived the accident and were first on the scene to render aid are suffering a trauma that will be deep and long lasting," wrote Cunningham. "The practical tasks that need to be done by survivors at the base after a tragedy like this are enormous, all the while trying to walk through their own grief.”

As for how things will be worked out for funerals and sending the bodies back to their native countries, there aren't any details. The estimated cost for all things involved however is $350,000.