MEXICO CITY -- Eleven Catholic pilgrims died in a traffic accident on Tuesday as they were returning from one of the world's largest annual Catholic celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.
A truck transporting the pilgrims collided with another vehicle, which hit it from the back on a road linking the capital with the city of Puebla in central Mexico early Tuesday.
Eight of the victims died immediately, the three others in hospital. Thirteen people were reported to have been injured.
The victims were returning from the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, one of the top pilgrimage sites in Catholicism dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Nearly 7 million people were estimated to have visited the basilica between Saturday and Tuesday.
Many of the pilgrims moved toward the basilica on their knees, with an image of the Virgin Mary attached to their backs.
Prayers focused on the reconstruction of the country following two earthquakes which killed about 470 people in September.
"Long live the families that are coming together to rebuild a strong and joyful country," one of the priests shouted prior to a morning Mass.
The basilica stands at a site where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared five times to an indigenous man, Juan Diego, between Dec. 9 and 12, 1531.
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