South Africa: bus fall from a bridge and at least 45 people died

The bus was carrying 46 passengers, including the driver.

At least 45 people died on Thursday in South Africa after the bus they were traveling in plunged off a bridge, the local Ministry of Transport reported. Initial reports of the incident indicate that the vehicle’s driver may have lost control and crashed into the safety barriers.

The accident occurred on a vast bridge suspended between two hills near Mmamatlakala, in the Limpopo province, more than 300 kilometers from Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. The bus was carrying 46 passengers, including the driver.

According to The Guardian, the passengers were pilgrims traveling from Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, to an Easter service in the city of Moria, in northern South Africa. Only an eight-year-old child survived the crash. He was swiftly transported to a nearby hospital due to his serious injuries.

“It appears the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with the bridge’s safety barriers. The bus plunged from the bridge, fell to the ground, and caught fire. Some bodies were burned, others are trapped under the debris, and others are scattered,” authorities detailed in a statement.

The bus had a Botswana license plate. The nationality of the deceased has not yet been confirmed. Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga visited the scene and stated that the South African government would assist in repatriating the bodies and conduct an investigation, as reported by the BBC.

She also expressed her “deepest condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus accident.” She added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. South Africa has one of the most developed road networks in Africa, but road safety is deficient.”

Hours before the road accident, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to be cautious when traveling during Easter: “Let’s make every effort to ensure this is a safe Easter. It doesn’t have to be a time when we wait to see statistics on tragedies.”

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