South Africa bus crash: 45 dead after vehicle falls off bridge and erupts into flames - Child, 8, lone survivor

​The remnants of the bus crash in Northern South Africa

The remnants of the bus crash in Northern South Africa

Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 28/03/2024

- 19:46

Updated: 28/03/2024

- 22:06

The ministry said the vehicle collided with barriers before hitting the ground below

A bus crash in South Africa has resulted in at least 45 deaths and one seriously injured person.

The country's Department of Transport on Thursday said a bus crash near Mamatlakala in the northern province of Limpopo has left an eight year old child as the sole survivor.

According to a statement, the ministry alleged that the driver lost control and collided with barriers on the bridge, causing the bus to go over the bridge and hit the ground where it caught fire.

The passenger bus was transporting people from Botswana to Moria, a town in Limpopo.

The scene of the incident

Limpopo MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Florence Radzilan at the scene

Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety

Rescue operations continued until the late hours of Thursday evening, as some bodies were burned beyond recognition, others trapped inside the debris and scattered on the scene.

The transport secretary confirmed the bus had a Botswana registration number, and a process to confirm the citizenship of the victims will begin after investigators from both South Africa and Botswana have verified their citizenships.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga went to the scene of the crash and said a full inquiry would be held into its cause.


People attending the scene

Officials at the scene in South Africa

Limpopo Department of Transport and Community Safety

Although South Africa has one of Africa’s most developed road networks, it has one of the worst safety records, reports The Guardian.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had appealed to South Africans to take care when travelling during the Easter week just hours before the crash.

He said: "Let’s do our best to make this a safe Easter. Easter does not have to be a time where we sit back and wait to see statistics on tragedy or injuries on our roads."

The major bridge linked two hillsides near Mmamatlakala in Limpopo province, around 300 kilometres from Johannesburg.

Minister Chikunga said in a statement: "I am sending my heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus crash near Mamatlakala.

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

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