HomeTop Headlines45 People Killed in Fiery Bus Crash

45 People Killed in Fiery Bus Crash

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A severe accident involving a bus from Botswana occurred on Thursday, March 28, 2024, on a bridge in South Africa. The bus, carrying 46 passengers, fell approximately 164 feet into a ravine and caught fire. The passengers were on their way to an Easter service at St. Engenas Zionist Christian Church in Moria, almost 190 miles north of Johannesburg. The accident resulted in 45 fatalities, leaving an 8-year-old girl as the only survivor.

The incident occurred on the Mmamatlakala bridge, an essential connection between Mokopane and Marken in the Limpopo province. The bus, identifiable by its Botswana license plate, veered off the bridge after the driver lost control. The vehicle smashed into the rocky terrain below and burst into flames upon impact. The resulting fire made identification and recovery of the victims difficult, with many burned beyond recognition or trapped within the wreckage.

Local resident Simone Mayema, one of the first witnesses at the scene, said, “We arrived quickly and attempted to offer assistance, but the flames made it impossible for us to do anything.”

South Africa’s transport minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, was also among the first officials at the scene. She expressed condolences and assured the government’s support in repatriating the victims’ bodies and investigating the cause of the crash. Her presence also marked the government’s ongoing road safety campaign, highlighting the need to improve the nation’s alarming road safety record.

The crash occurred during the first Easter pilgrimage to Moria since the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is an annual gathering of the Zionist Christian Church and attracts hundreds of thousands from South Africa and neighboring countries. Established in 1910 by Bishop Engenas Barnabas Lekganyane, the church is a significant cultural and spiritual landmark for many.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed condolences to the victims’ families and pledged support to Botswana. The president also highlighted the need for enhanced road safety, especially during Easter, a time notorious for increased travel and a rise in road accidents.

The accident took place in the Limpopo province, a region known for traffic-related fatalities, especially during festive periods. Efforts are underway to address this problem, with law enforcement agencies increasing their presence on critical routes. However, the high rates of road fatalities emphasize the challenges facing South Africa’s road safety measures.

Investigations into the accident are ongoing as authorities strive to uncover the events that led to the tragic incident. The nation, along with the local community, mourns the loss of lives, remembering the victims as pilgrims on a spiritual journey that ended tragically.

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