South Africa car crash: At least 20 school children killed in Mpumalanga road incident

Minibus collided with a truck before exploding into 'fireball' 45 miles northeast of capital Pretoria

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The Independent Online

At least 20 school children have died in a car crash in South Africa, according to local emergency services.

The minibus was ferrying children from school when it collided with a truck and exploded into a fireball between the towns of Verena and Bronkhorstspruit, roughly 45 miles north-east of the capital Pretoria, Russel Meiring, spokesperson for ER24, South Africa’s national emergency care network, said.

An emergency services spokesperson confirmed the minibus driver had also been killed. The truck driver sustained minor injuries, according to another spokesperson. 

Officials are still investigating the cause of the accident (EPA)

Paramedics said seven children had sustained injuries ranging from minor to critical and had been transported to local hospitals. Some children had been dragged out of the vehicle by members of the local community. 

A truck crashed into the bus carrying school children home. After the impact the bus burst into flames (EPA)

Investigations into the cause of the collision were taking place at the scene of the accident. 

It was unclear how many children were in the minibus at the time of the crash. 

Even though it is Africa's most industrialised economy with a modern road network, South Africa has a poor road safety record. Road deaths rose to 235 during this year's Easter weekend compared with 156 fatalities last year, transport officials said earlier on Friday.

Additional reporting by agencies