2024 Mmamatlakala bus crash

Coordinates: 23°58′33″S 28°32′7″E / 23.97583°S 28.53528°E / -23.97583; 28.53528
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Map
Details
Date28 March 2024 (2024-03-28)
LocationRegional route R518
5 km (3.1 mi) west from Mmamatlakala, Mogalakwena Local Municipality, Limpopo
Coordinates23°58′33″S 28°32′7″E / 23.97583°S 28.53528°E / -23.97583; 28.53528
CountrySouth Africa
Incident typeRoadway departure over a bridge resulting in catastrophic fire on bus
CauseDriver lost control
Statistics
Vehicles1
Passengers46
Deaths45
Injured1

On 28 March 2024, a passenger bus crashed near Mmamatlakala in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa, killing 45 people and leaving an eight-year-old girl, who sustained serious injuries, as the sole survivor.[1][2] According to the South African Department of Transport, the incident occurred when the driver lost control. The bus went over a bridge and then caught on fire. The bus was transporting Easter pilgrims from Gaborone, Botswana, to Moria, South Africa.[1][2][3]

Background

South Africa has one of the most developed road networks in Africa but one of the worst safety records.[4] During the four-day-long Easter weekend in 2023, the country recorded 185 fatal automobile incidents that resulted in 225 fatalities.[5] In a statement made hours before the crash, President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South Africans to take caution on the roads during the Easter weekend, stating that the event "does not have to be a time where we sit back and wait to see statistics on tragedy or injuries on our roads."[5]

The Zion Christian Church, the largest denomination in southern Africa, is headquartered in Moria and attracts millions of Christians from South Africa and surrounding countries with its annual Easter pilgrimages.[6] The 2024 pilgrimage was the first in the town since the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][8]

Crash

The Mma Matlakala Bridge in 2021

The bus had a Botswana licence plate and had been carrying pilgrims from the St. Engenas Zion Christian Church in Molepolole, around an hour from Gaborone, who were headed for an Easter church service in Moria.[6] It had a total of 46 occupants and was travelling on the regional route 518 through the Kloof Pass, a mountainous route that contains numerous tight bends.[9] Initial information suggested the driver had missed the turn-off for the much smoother N11 national route.[10]

The bus fell off the side of the Mma Matlakala Bridge,[11] in Mmamatlakala between Mokopane and Marken,[1][12] and into the ravine, catching fire after impact on a rocky surface about 50 metres (160 ft) under the bridge.[7] The South African Transport Ministry said the driver lost control of the bus, which caused it to collide with barriers and go off the side of the bridge.[1][13][14] It was also pulling a trailer, according to rescue workers, adding additional weight.[8] The fire involved gas canisters, which many passengers were carrying to use for cooking. Surviving passengers were trapped in the wreckage but could not be reached quickly by rescuers before they were burnt alive.[15]

Rescue operations commenced and continued until the late evening hours.[16]

Casualties

Forty-five people died in the crash.[3] The sole survivor, an eight-year-old girl, was hospitalized with serious injuries.[17] She had been accompanied by her grandmother, who died,[18] and was later reported to be in stable condition, with minor lacerations to her arms, legs, head and back. The driver and passengers were all citizens of Botswana.[6] The girl was released on 3 April and repatriated to Botswana by air accompanied by her mother.[19]

Some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, while others were hard to reach due to debris scattered over the crash scene.[1][13][14] One woman died after being airlifted from the scene.[20] As of 29 March, 34 bodies had been recovered from the scene, only nine of them identifiable.[6] Autopsies on the victims were conducted on 2 April.[21]

Responses

President Ramaphosa sent condolences to Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi,[22] and pledged support to the nation.[3] Masisi sent two cabinet ministers to South Africa to support the families of the victims.[23] South African Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga travelled to the scene of the crash, where she called for responsible driving during the Easter weekend and offered thoughts and prayers for the victims' families. She added that the South African government would assist in repatriating the corpses to Botswana and hold a full inquiry.[2][8] Botswanan Foreign Minister Lemogang Kwape called the incident a catastrophe, and said that he had received a call from his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor to update him about the situation.[6] On 2 April, national health minister Joe Phaahla and his provincial counterpart Phophi Ramathuba visited the sole survivor of the crash at Mokopane Hospital. Phaahla described her survival as "miraculous".[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Chatterjee, Phelan (28 March 2024). "South Africa: Girl, 8, only survivor as 45 killed in bus crash". BBC News. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Cassidy, Amy (28 March 2024). "Bus carrying Easter worshippers falls off cliff killing 45 people in South Africa". CNN. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Sishi, Siyabonga (28 March 2024). "Bus accident in South Africa kills at least 45, Transport Ministry says". Reuters. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  4. ^ "Bus plunges off South Africa bridge killing 45: ministry". The Hindu. 29 March 2024. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  5. ^ a b "South Africa bus crash leaves dozens dead". Deutsche Welle. 28 March 2024. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  6. ^ a b c d e Eligon, John and Mooka, Yvonne (3 April 2024). "Girl, 8, Is Sole Survivor of Bus Plunge: 'No One Can Explain This Miracle'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  7. ^ a b Imray, Gerald (28 March 2024). "Bus plunges off a bridge in South Africa, killing 45 people. An 8-year-old is only survivor". AP News. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  8. ^ a b c Dev, S. (28 March 2024). "Bus in South Africa plunges off a bridge and catches fire, killing 45 people". CBS News. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  9. ^ Smith, Benedict (28 March 2024). "Girl, 8, only survivor after South Africa bus crash kills 45". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024 – via Yahoo! News.
  10. ^ Ledwaba, Lucas (30 March 2024). "Botswana pilgrims' families wait in agony after Limpopo bus tragedy that killed 45". The Daily Maverick. Archived from the original on 31 March 2024. Retrieved 31 March 2024.
  11. ^ Eligon, John (28 March 2024). "8-Year-Old Survives Bus Plunge Off Bridge That Left 45 People Dead". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  12. ^ Mokoena, Sophie (31 March 2024). "Eight-year-old survivor of Limpopo bus crash still in hospital". SABC News. Archived from the original on 31 March 2024. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  13. ^ a b Badshah, Nadeem (28 March 2024). "45 dead as bus plunges from bridge into ravine in South Africa". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  14. ^ a b Bushard, Brian (28 March 2024). "45 Killed In South Africa Bus Crash". Forbes. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  15. ^ Giokos, Heidi (28 March 2024). "45 killed after bus plunges off bridge in Limpopo". BBC News. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  16. ^ Arshad, Minnah (28 March 2024). "Bus accident in South Africa kills at least 45, Transport Ministry says". USA Today. Archived from the original on 28 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  17. ^ "8-year-old lone survivor of South Africa bus crash will be discharged from hospital". AP News. 3 April 2024. Archived from the original on 4 April 2024. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  18. ^ "Masisi pledges support to families of Limpopo accident victims". SABC. 4 April 2024. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  19. ^ "Survivor of Limpopo bus crash on her way home". SABC. 3 April 2024. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  20. ^ Westfall, Sammy (28 March 2024). "8-year-old girl only survivor of South Africa bus crash that killed 45". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 1 April 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024 – via MSN.
  21. ^ "Postmortems on the 45 Limpopo crash victims to start Tuesday". SABC. 1 April 2024. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  22. ^ Imray, Gerald and Ntshangase, Nqobile (29 March 2024). "Investigators search for bodies of Easter pilgrims in bus that crashed off a bridge in South Africa". AP News. Archived from the original on 29 March 2024. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  23. ^ Mokoena, Sophie (31 March 2024). "Eight-year-old survivor of Limpopo bus crash still in hospital". SABC. Retrieved 8 April 2024.
  24. ^ Makungo, Michael (3 April 2024). "It's a miracle that one person survived Limpopo bus crash: Phaahla". SABC. Retrieved 8 April 2024.

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