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South Africa bus crash leaves dozens dead

March 28, 2024

A bus went over a cliff in South Africa's northern province of Limpopo. South Africa's transport minister expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

A South African Police officer stands at a roadblock on the road to Polokwane
More than a million vehicles are expected to be on South Africa's main highways over EasterImage: Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images

A bus carrying worshippers from Botswana has plunged off a bridge in South Africa, killing 45 people on board.

An 8-year-old girl is thought to be the sole survivor and was airlifted to Johannesburg for treatment.

"It is alleged that the driver lost control, colliding with barriers on the bridge causing the bus to go over the bridge and hitting the ground, where it caught fire," South Africa's transport ministry said.

The bus was headed to an Easter weekend church service in Moria when it veered off the road between the towns of Marken and Mokopane in the northern province of Limpopo.

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

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, Limpopo's Department of Transport said in a separate statement.

South Africa's startling Easter road death toll

While South Africa has one of the continent's most developed road networks, it also has one of the worst safety records.

Last year, 225 people died on the country's roads over the four-day Easter long weekend in 185 fatal crashes.

Just hours before the crash, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to be cautious when traveling during Easter weekend.

"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," he said in a statement.

lo/wd (Reuters, AFP)