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9 Reed Dance girls killed in bus

2013-09-02 09:04

TAKING A GRIM TOLL: 10 people died in a crash on Sunday (Sep 1) in KwaZulu-Natal and another 5 in another crash new Bloemfontein. Image: Wheels24

Two multiple collisions at the weekend killed 17 people - among them nine girls returning from a Reed Dance ceremony in KZN.

Two multiple crashes during the weekend killed nine girls returning home by bus from a Reed Dance ceremony in KZN and five more people died in a separate crash near Bloemfontein.

An adult accompanying the girls was also killed when their bus was speared by a crash barrier at the R66/R34 intersection in Melmoth, 40km from Eshowe, in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday afternoon, a provincial health department spokesperson said.

OVERTURNED BUS

Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said 10 people died in the crash: "The nine girls had taken part in the ceremony, the adult had accompanied them." The bus was carrying people returning from a Reed Dance ceremony at the Nyokeni Royal Palace in Nongoma.

Paramedics said 62 others were injured when the bus overturned, slid down the road and smashed into the steel barrier. A medics' spokesperson said: "We found that the barrier had pierced the front of the bus."

Dhlomo was on his way to visit some of the injured at Ngwelezana Hospital near Empangeni on Sunday night. Others who were injured were admitted to the Eshowe Hospital. "It's a tragic loss and we convey our condolences to the families."

Earlier, KZN Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said he had instituted a probe into the crash. "I've instructed the (law enforcers) investigation to assess the cause of the accident, state of the driver and the roadworthiness of the bus.

"We are all shocked by the spate of crashes in the past three months which show a dramatic increase in road fatalities. The other worrying trend is that many of these accidents involve the loss of young lives. In this instance, these children had gone to participate in a cultural ceremony that promotes the well-being and dignified growth of young girls through to adulthood.”

MORE DEAD

Another seven people died in an incident involving five vehicles on the N6 between Reddersburg and Bloemfontein, also on Sunday, Free State paramedics said. Two were apparently in a head-on collision then a truck and two other vehicles ploughed into the wreckage.

A spokesperson said : "Parts of the wrecked vehicles were strewn across the scene and bodies lay scattered; others were trapped in the mangled metal of what remained of the vehicles.”

Five people were dead when paramedics arrived, three more had critical injuries, and one of the injured died as paramedics were working to stabilise him on the scene. the seventh died soon after arrival in hospital.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
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