Driver in tour crash was unlicensed and may have been speeding, inquiry finds

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The Independent Online

The driver of a South African minibus that overturned killing eight British tourists on Wednesday was not licensed, a preliminary government investigation into the crash has found.

The driver of a South African minibus that overturned killing eight British tourists on Wednesday was not licensed, a preliminary government investigation into the crash has found.

The investigation by the transport department also revealed that speed might have been a contributory factor to the accident, which happened when the driver swerved to avoid a man who had apparently walked into the road intent on suicide.

Logan Maistry, a departmental spokesman, said the driver, Christopher Kampfert, 24, did not have the correct code of driving licence, which made him an unlicensed driver in terms of South African regulations.

Mr Kampfert, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, worked for Mask Expeditions, the owner of the Mercedes Sprinter in which the tourists were travelling as they headed for a national park. Mr Maistry said the investigation had also established that the vehicle's licence disc had expired.

Reports on Thursday said the minibus had overturned after a pedestrian allegedly playing "Russian roulette" with oncoming vehicles leapt in front of the minibus. The pedestrian was reportedly mentally ill and was said to have jumped out as the minibus negotiated a steep and winding road near the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal province.

The transport department will supply its preliminary report into the crash to the British high commissioner and to the department of public prosecutions.

Two of the eight Britons killed in the bus crash ­ Neil Pike, 35, and Christine Rowe, 30, from Preston, Lancashire ­ had been planning to marry, their families said yesterday.

South African Airways has offered to provide tickets for relatives of people killed in the crash to fly to South Africa.

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