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Monday, April 22, 2024
Independent Africa8-year-old survives bus crash killing 45 in South Africa


8-year-old survives bus crash killing 45 in South Africa

Authorities report that in South Africa, a devastating incident has claimed the lives of forty-five individuals as a bus they were traveling in careened approximately 50 meters (165 feet) off a bridge into a ravine.

Among the tragic outcome, there is a glimmer of hope as an eight-year-old girl emerged as the sole survivor. Despite sustaining severe injuries, she is now in stable condition.

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The bus’s descent was catastrophic, as it smashed through a barrier upon impact with the ground in the northeastern province of Limpopo, igniting into flames.

While thirty-four body bags have been retrieved from the crash site, only nine of the deceased can be positively identified, according to authorities.

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The passengers aboard the ill-fated journey were pilgrims en route from Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, to attend an Easter service in the town of Moria.

The catastrophic turn of events unfolded when the vehicle lost control and veered off a bridge along the Mmamatlakala mountain pass between Mokopane and Marken, approximately 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of Johannesburg, as reported by South African public broadcaster SABC.

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Colin Msibi, spokesperson for the Department of Transport, conveyed to the BBC’s Newsday program that the surviving eight-year-old girl is presently hospitalized and reportedly in stable condition.

“What we suspect is that when the bus hit the barrier of the bridge, the child was ejected out of the bus, and that is how the child was able to survive,” Mr Msibi said.

Rescue efforts persisted well into Thursday night and resumed the following morning.

According to Limpopo health official Phophi Ramathuba, the intensity of the fire may have caused body parts from different victims to merge, leading to the identification of only nine bodies thus far.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, who visited the site of the accident, offered her sincere condolences to the families impacted by the devastating bus crash.

Assuring support, she stated that the South African government would facilitate the repatriation of the deceased and initiate a comprehensive investigation into the crash’s cause.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time,” she added. “We continue to urge responsible driving at all times with heightened alertness as more people are on our roads this Easter weekend.”

Ms. Chikunga informed eNCA that the road from which the bus plummeted is characterized by “winding with sharp bends, hairpin bends, a road that I’d never advise any person who is driving a heavy vehicle such as a bus, such as a truck, to use.”

In response to the tragic incident, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi conveyed his “deepest condolences” to the relatives of the pilgrims and the church they were affiliated with, describing the crash as “heartbreaking,” as stated in a release from his party.

The office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also issued a statement on Thursday evening, expressing sympathy for Botswana and the families of the victims.

In an Easter message released prior to the accident, Mr. Ramaphosa had encouraged citizens to “do our best to make this a safe Easter.”

It should “not be a time where we sit back and wait to see statistics on tragedy or injuries on our roads,” he added.

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