Manama: A woman was killed and 16 people injured when the car used to smuggle them into Saudi Arabia crashed.

The 17 passengers, all from the Horn of Africa, had struck a deal with a 17-year-old Saudi national to transport them early on Saturday from the southern borders of the kingdom to a location in the north.

The smuggler drove the group across the mountains to avoid police check points.

However, due to speed and overload, the vehicle missed a sharp turn and overturned several times, killing the woman who is believed to have been thrown out of the window, local Arabic daily Al Sharq reported on Sunday.

The  woman and the injured passengers were transported to three hospitals in the Khamees Mushait area. At least seven of the injured are in critical condition and need surgical intervention, medical sources said.

The Saudi driver is in police detention while an investigation into the incident is underway.

The accident is reportedly the 21st to occur in the region this year. More than 64 people have died and dozens injured in smuggling attempts.