top of page

Bus Accident in Tanzania

Screenshot 2024-02-25 at 09.55.34.png

March 8, 2024

We are grateful for your prayers over the last 12 days since the Arusha Tragedy. We have felt your love from around the world, and have seen God’s hand guiding us through this.

We are happy to share that all of those injured in the accident are on their way to recovering. We are grateful for the doctors and hospital staff in Arusha and elsewhere who have given great care to our dear friends. We ask that you continue to pray for the injured as they continue to recover and heal both in the hospital and at home.

We ask that you continue to pray for those injured. Though three Y’ers remain hospitalized and in the care of very capable medical staff, we celebrate that the other five have been discharged and continue to recover and heal at home.

The crisis response team has been working to return those who have passed away to their loved ones. There are a number of agencies and embassies involved and there has been great progress. Out of sensitivity for the families, we are unable to provide the exact details on the repatriation process but we can share that the majority of the deceased have now been returned to their home country and the rest will soon be are on their way. The repatriation process as a whole is nearing the end.

Please continue to pray for the families and friends of our missionaries, those who are still recovering from their injuries, those who responded to the accident, and the many Y bases who have lost leaders as they grieve and find their next steps forward in both life and ministry without their beloved leaders.

The effects of this loss will be long lasting, but we are trusting God to lead us as we look to the future with hope in His redemptive purposes. Thank you for your continued prayers during this challenging time. May God’s grace continue to keep us and lead us all.


David Hamilton
on behalf of the crisis response team

A message from Darlene Cunningham


Dear Y Family

By now, you have heard of the tragic bus accident in Tanzania on Feb 24th that took the lives of eleven key Y leaders. At this time, eight more are still in the hospital. (You can read the names and all of the background information on

In these days, tears are being poured out across the world by individuals, families and Y'ers worldwide. I am personally reeling from the weight of this news, as I knew and loved many of these individuals personally. But I am leaning into the character of God for what I know to be true about who He is!

The background: Participants in the "Executive Masters in Leadership" course, based at Y Arusha, Tanzania, took a field trip in two buses to Maasai land, where they observed our thriving community development program. They had a very good day together. On the return trip to Arusha, a truck that had lost its brakes smashed into our 2nd bus, literally crushing it from top to bottom. Eleven of our beloved friends were killed and eight others are severely wounded, battling for their lives. We have not seen a tragedy of this magnitude in all of Y’s history and we are all devastated.

Not only have husbands and wives, friends and co-workers been lost, but also Y ministry leaders. The individuals involved in running the Executive Masters were key Y leaders in the region - some leading flourishing Y bases; others giving leadership in the field of education and other spheres; others ministering in restricted-access locations where no one else would dare to go – and seeing the hand of God upon their ministries in amazing ways. The students attracted to the Executive Masters were the same caliber of people – life-long committed Y missionary pioneers. So their deaths create a massive vacuum in this part of the world for Y as a missionary movement. 

Our brothers and sisters in Tanzania are carrying so much at this time. 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. 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 (the Arusha base leader and training director were among those who lost their lives).

The base has erected two tents on the property where family members and community members can come, pay their respects and grieve together. The Executive Masters students that are still there are sleeping in rooms where there’s an empty bed and eating meals without their fellow cohorts. And then there are those who have lost a partner, or a father or mother who will need our continual love and support. Ministry teams will need to adjust and fill leadership gaps that were not there before. The void and the needs go on and on….

Local and international Y leaders are gathering to support the remaining team members on the ground as they face the many details of repatriation, medical evacuation, family support, funeral arrangements, and many other logistics. (Current expenses are approximately USD $350,000).  

In the midst of all of this, let us choose to be stronger than we were before. Wounded? Yes we are wounded. But just as with a natural wound, when treated correctly, the surrounding muscles become even stronger than before. Where you may have easily lost your balance previously, with the right care, you move onto good balance and are able to be stronger than you were before the wounding. 

Let us commit – for ourselves personally, and for those most closely impacted by this – to get the right care, to become stronger than ever before. Healing is not going to take place overnight. We will have to work, care deeply for each other, and be ready to go the extra mile. But with God’s help, I know it’s wonderfully possible.

Here are a few reminders I would encourage you to take hold of, as we mourn this profound loss:

  • Hang onto the fact that, no matter what, we know that God is just and kind in all His ways (Ps 145:17).

  • Remind yourself of Job 42:2. Job had lost everything and his response was “I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Let’s hang onto that word! 

  • Remind yourself of Isaiah 41:10: “…do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

  • Remind yourself of the word over and over, especially the Psalms, where God promises us that He will protect us with His strong right arm and keep us from falling.

I have found myself in these days lifting my right arm toward heaven, and extending my hand to the Lord saying, “I feel like I’m slipping, but I hang onto Your strong right arm and know that I can be secure in Your loving care!” And then I hang on with all my might! 

Let’s increase our prayer, and specifically include every nation and Y base around the globe by name. 

Let’s ask: How can we support the ministries that have lost their loved ones? May our prayer be, “here am I; send me.”

Dear missionary family, it is at this time we hold onto our God and each other, proving that He is always great enough to see us through every trial that we encounter.

I like to think of Loren being there at the gates of heaven to greet and welcome these eleven beloved Y'ers! Our hearts rejoice knowing that they are rejoicing to be with Jesus, while at the same time, we weep for the loss of their presence among us.


Blessings and love to each one of you!



A message from Paul Marsh

Dear Friends,

As I write this we know that eleven of our key international  (mostly African) leaders were tragically killed on Saturday as they returned from an outreach. Seven are still in hospital, two critically. One of those hospitalised in a critical condition is Joële Zeller, well known and appreciated for her work with King's kids.


Guy Zeller, travelling in another vehicle, was able to provide immediate help along with other YWAM leaders from Switzerland. We would also like to give you the possibility of providing much needed solidarity for the victims.


This deeply painful accident will cause great difficulty for these families. Many of those killed were young leaders with small or even unborm children. They had already stretched their finances to participate in this Masters program, and were anticipating the opportunity to be even more influential in Africa in the years to come.


If you would like to consider giving to help in this complex and difficult situation, we have provided an IBAN and a PayPal account. Please annotate  your gift "Solidarite accident", and we will make sure it goes to help the immediate needs in Arusha as well as the needs of the families.


As you can imagine, the costs of dealing with this in Africa are considerable, and the Arusha base does not have any capacity absorb this.


I thank you for your prayers and generosity as we do out best to address this unexpected and singularly painful incident. Even out of such pain, may the power of God be seen.


Warmest regards,

Paul Marsh

President, Jeunesse en Mission Suisse romande


We will be keeping this page up to date with news of the incident as it comes in . You can also follow the link to the page hosted by YWAM Kona:


February 25, 2024 11:40AM HST

With the ripples of the difficult news of the death of 11 YWAMers in a terrible traffic accident in Tanzania, our prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased.  There are five injured individuals still hospitalized and two more people in critical condition to be rallied around in prayer.  We thank the Lord that one of the hospitalized, Isaac B., has been released to return home. (Due to security reasons, we cannot release the full names).


Local and international leaders from YWAM are gathering to support the team on the ground, who are now faced with many details of repatriation, medical evacuation, family support, funeral arrangements, and many other logistics.  We invite you to help with these expenses with an opportunity to give on the following link. The estimated cost of all of these arrangements is approximately $350,000. Thank you to those who are already contributing.  Feel free to share this link with others.


Thank you for helping to ease the financial burden for those bearing the weight of this significant loss to our family in Africa.  Your ongoing prayers and sensitivity are much appreciated.  


Brett Curtis, on behalf of our Crisis Response Team, our Founder, Darlene Cunningham, and ExecMAL leader, David Hamilton. 



February 25, 2024 7:10AM HST

Many of you may now have heard of the tragedy that took place on the 24th of February in Arusha. Leaders and students involved in the Executive Masters Program were on a field trip with other local YWAMers. One mini-bus was struck and overrun by a large truck with failing brakes.

It is with great sadness that we confirm friends and coworkers have passed away. Below are the names of those who have gone to be with Jesus, and for security purposes, their full names and nationalities have been kept confidential.


Claire M.
Zabulon T.
Emmanuel D.
Vicent K.
John M.
Blaise G.
Ime E.
Andrew D.
Chimene D.
Lova R.
Lordienne N.

Those who are currently in hospital and in critical condition are:
Mathurin B.
Joelle Z.

Those who are in the hospital and in stable condition are:
Paul Dav.
Isaac B.
Janet F.
Cyrille A.
Benjamin N.
Paulo M.

All others out on the field trip with the Master intensive are safely back at the Arusha YWAM Base. If your friends do not appear on this list, they were not in the accident.

A team of leaders on the ground in Arusha, Tanzania, a crisis response team in Kona, Hawaii, and other key leaders have been working nonstop to respond in a loving, compassionate, and responsible way to this tragedy that impacts so many of us.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and sensitivity during this emotional time.


February 24, 2024 10:10PM HST

It is morning time in Tanzania, and we are deeply saddened to confirm the passing of another three of our dear missionaries as a result of the tragic traffic accident on Saturday, February 24th, near Arusha, Tanzania. Eleven of our friends are now with Jesus. Two are still in critical condition in the hospital.

As a movement, we gather around all those impacted by this tragedy, their families, and their communities. We are working to meet all the pressing practical, financial, and emotional needs that arise. A fund has been set up that can receive donations.

Please feel free to share the giving link freely: Giving Link

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and support as we navigate the impact of this tremendous loss

It is with great sadness that we are confirming that 11 of our dearly loved friends and honored missionaries have passed away as a result of the tragic traffic accident involving multiple vehicles on Saturday, February 24th, near Arusha, Tanzania. Additionally, several others, including the bus driver, have also passed away. Our hearts go out to all the families, friends, and team members affected by this heartbreaking loss. 2 are in critical condition and 6 hospitalized. Please pray.


For security purposes, their full names and nationalities are kept confidential. Direct family members of those who have passed away and those in critical condition are being contacted as updates on their condition are received by our coordinating team on the ground.


Besides the tragedy of this loss of life, we can confirm that five of our members are in stable condition, with three in critical condition. Our love and prayers continue to go out to them and their families as they continue to fight for their lives.


There are several inaccurate reports circulating around in the news and on social media channels. We encourage everyone to honor the families of those impacted by the tragedy by not generating or spreading unconfirmed reports. Please feel free to repost the updates posted here.


Thank you for your ongoing prayers and sensitivity during this emotional time.

Information liaison:


As a movement, we gather around all those impacted by this tragedy, their families, and their communities. We are working to meet all the pressing practical, financial, and emotional needs that arise. A fund has been set up that can receive donations.



Account name: Jeunesse en Mission Bureau Romand

Address: Bugnaux sur Rolle, Chem. du Croset 13, 1180 Rolle.

IBAN:  CH78 0900 0000 1742 2063 6

Bank name: PostFinance

Bank address:  Mingerstrasse 20, 3014 Berne

Mention: "Solidarity Accident"



bottom of page