Police said the accident occurred early Saturday outside the town of Anjozorobe, around 90 kilometres (56 miles) from the capital. The truck was transporting passengers who had attended a wedding the day before.
There were “a total of 47 deaths, including 10 children” and the newly-wedded couple, police spokesman Herilala Andrianatisaona told AFP. Twenty-two others were injured.
The police have blamed the driver for taking too many passengers on a truck meant to carry only goods.
“According to our hypothesis, the truck driver, cognisant of the offence he was committing, which was transporting too many passengers in a vehicle meant for carrying goods, drove fast to escape traffic police checks.”
“The driver lost control of his vehicle after having negotiated a wrong turn and ended up in the Mananara river,” said Andrianatisaona.
It is common practice for trucks to carry passengers on the large Indian Ocean island. They are usually capable of manoeuvring the island’s bad roads.