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Eight-year-old only survivor after bus carrying Easter worshippers plunges off bridge, killing 45

Child survivor receiving medical attention after sustaining severe injuries, authorities say

Stuti Mishra
Friday 29 March 2024 04:39 GMT
45 killed after bus carrying Easter worshippers falls off bridge

An eight-year-old child emerged as the sole survivor after a bus carrying worshippers to an Easter festival, plunged off a bridge in South Africa, killing 45 people on Thursday.

The bus lost control on the Mmamatlakala bridge in the northern province of Limpopo and plunged 50m (164ft) into a ravine before bursting into flames. The driver was among the 45 dead.

The bus was transporting passengers from neighbouring Botswana to the town of Moria for an Easter pilgrimage, according to Limpopo authorities.

An 8-year-old girl, who was the only survivor, was receiving medical attention after sustaining severe injuries, authorities said.

Firefighters were working to hose down a fire and search operations ongoing until late night on Thursday, the provincial government said.

Firefighters hose down a bus after it crashed off the R518, killing a few dozen, in Waterberg District, Limpopo Province, South Africa (via REUTERS)

Many bodies still remained trapped inside the vehicle. However, rescuers were facing many challenges in identifying the bodies which were burned beyond recognition.

Minister of transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, was in Limpopo province for a road safety campaign and changed plans to visit the crash scene, the National Department of Transport said.

She said there was an investigation underway into the cause of the crash and offered her condolences to the families of the victims.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa also sent his condolences to Botswana and pledged support to the country, his office said in a statement.

The Zionist Christian Church has its headquarters in Moria and its Easter pilgrimage attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across South Africa and neighbouring countries.

This year is the first time the Easter pilgrimage to Moria is set to go ahead since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The South African government often warns of the danger of road accidents during the Easter holidays, which is a particularly busy and dangerous time for road travel.

More than 200 people died in road crashes during the Easter weekend last year.

Additional reporting by agencies

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