Twenty SA school children are reportedly dead after a minibus carrying them crashed and caught fire near the South African capital Pretoria, emergency services have said.
According to emergency services who rushed to the accident scene shortly after the incidence was reported, the mini bus carrying the 20 SA school children caught fire after it collided head-on with a truck on the R25 between Verena and Bronkhorstpruit on Friday.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said fire services managed to extinguish the burning vehicle, which was found lying on its side with the school children trapped in it.
“Unfortunately, nothing could be done for the children and they were declared dead on the scene,” Meiring said, adding that several other children were found at the scene. It’s believed these children had been pulled out of the taxi by members of the community.
The cause of the collision is not yet known.
Gauteng province’s education minister has described it as a “dark day” as it was understood that the SA school children were of both primary and secondary school age.
The report of the horrifying incidence comes at the time the transport minister Joe Maswanganyi was lamenting the sudden rise of accidents in the past few months, particularly during the Easter holiday period.
The minister said while presenting the 2017 road fatalities update on Friday, that cases of road accident had increased to 235 compared to 187 recorded last year.
He said some of the deadliest crashes over the Easter weekend were recorded in Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. While the highest increases have been recorded in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Western Cape and the North West respectively.
The minister blamed human factor as the main causes of the crashes with drivers and passengers either failing to wear seatbelts, drinking and driving or overloading.