Schoolchildren killed in South African bus crash | News | DW | 21.04.2017
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Schoolchildren killed in South African bus crash

Eighteen children and two teachers have died after a minibus collided with a truck on a road outside of the South African city of Pretoria. Many of the students were trapped inside as fire engulfed the vehicle.

A bus accident has claimed the lives of 18 children and two teachers in South Africa, emergency services and local authorities said on Friday.

The minibus carrying the students collided with a truck on a road near Bronkhorstspruit, located around 70 kilometers (45 miles) from the capital Pretoria.

The Education Department of Gauteng province, where the accident is believed to have taken place, and emergency services reported the incident via Twitter.

An earlier tweet from the same account had said that 20 children were believed to have been killed, the clarification that two of the dead were teachers followed later.

"It is with great sadness [we] inform that a minibus transporting learners was involved in a horrific accident," one of the tweets said.

Many children were trapped inside the bus when it exploded into a ball of fire. Many of the fatalities were declared dead at the site of the accident.

"Paramedics arrived on the scene to find the fire services already in attendance. The fire services had already extinguished the burning vehicle, which was found lying on its side," Russel Meiring, a spokesman for the ER24 emergency medical service told news agency AFP.

Images posted by ER24 on Twitter show the smoking minibus twisted on its side next to the truck.

Several of the other children were injured with reports that some of them were dragged from the wreckage by bystanders.

The cause of the deadly crash was not immediately known.

rs/msh   (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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