South Africa: at least 45 dead after bus falls from bridge

South Africa: at least 45 dead after bus falls from bridge

Almost all of the passengers on a bus, or 45 people, died Thursday in South Africa in a serious road accident. The vehicle fell around fifty meters from the top of a bridge before crashing into the bottom of a ravine.

A terrible accident claimed the lives of 45 people and seriously injured another, according to a statement from the country's transport ministry. The only survivor is an eight-year-old girl, who was airlifted to hospital, as reported by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The passengers were pilgrims traveling from Gaborone, the capital of neighboring Botswana, to a church to attend an Easter conference. The accident occurred at the Mamatlakala Pass, between Mokopane and Marken, when the bus apparently caught fire after it fell.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation. According to a statement from the provincial transportation department, it appears the driver lost control.

Efforts are currently being made to find the bodies of the deceased passengers, the statement said. Some bodies were burned so badly that they became unrecognizable, while others were trapped in the rubble or scattered around the accident site.

South African Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has expressed her deepest condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus accident near Mamatlakala. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time,” he said in a statement, while emphasizing the importance of caution and responsibility on the roads, particularly during this busy period during the Easter week end.