Six Children Among 20 Killed in South African Bus Crash
At least 20 people, including six children, were killed early Sunday in South Africa when a bus plunged head first down a steep embankment, police said.
The driver of a luxury bus lost control on a notoriously dangerous road, while travelling from Cape Town to Butterworth in the Eastern Cape province, police spokesman Captain Shannon Kirkhoff said.
Twenty passengers including the bus driver died at the scene and at least another 43 were taken to hospitals in the area by ambulance and helicopter. Two people survived the crash unharmed.
Kirkhoff said it was unclear how many passengers were on board but the provisional figure was 65.
He said at about 4.30 am the DMJ bus was travelling down a hill on the Kei Cuttings pass -- in the southeast of the country -- when the driver lost control and hit a barrier.
The bus veered across the road and crashed through another barrier, plunging down a 30-meter (90-foot) embankment, before rolling, Kirkhoff said.
The Kei Cuttings has been the scene of several fatal bus accidents in the past. Sunday morning's accident happened about 20-meters (yards) from the scene of a crash two months ago in which 19 people died, Kirkhoff said.
Upgrade work on the road through the pass started in October last year after a string of accidents.
That same month in 1999, 19 people were killed and 47 injured when a bus plunged down an embankment, and a month later in November four people were killed and 66 injured when two buses collided.
Leann Ragoomath from the Arrive Alive road safety campaign said Sunday that 564 people had been killed on South Africa's roads since the start of the festive season in December.
Driver fatigue, speeding and drunken driving were the main reasons for the road accidents, Arrive Alive said -- EAST LONDON (AFP)
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