Bus crash: ‘Those found guilty will be savagely punished’

2011-08-24 11:07

Rescue workers have recovered the bodies of 14 children and a driver from a dam in Knysna after their school bus plunged into the water this morning.

“Fifteen bodies have been recovered, 14 children and the bus driver,” said the police’s Captain Malcolm Pojie.

“Forty-two children have been taken to hospital and are being treated for minor injuries and shock.”

He said the children were pupils at the Rheenendal Primary School and were on their way to school when the accident happened.

“We’re not sure how many children were on the bus. We are retrieving it from the water and divers will continue to search for more bodies,” said Pojie.

The children were aged between 7 and 17, said ER24 spokesperson Andre Visser.

He said the driver lost control of the bus and it rolled into the dam.

“The only part of the bus sticking out of the water is the rear.”

Police divers, paramedics and emergency services were on the scene. Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle said he was on his way to Knysna.

“We will obviously be there to find out the facts, to assist wherever we can and to ensure that if there has been any negligence or irresponsibility, that those found guilty will be savagely punished (sic).

“This is an unspeakable tragedy and a bitter blow coming one day from the anniversary tomorrow of the Blackheath taxi crash that killed 10 children, on August 25 last year,” he said.

The children died when their minibus taxi jumped a line of stopped cars at a level crossing at Blackheath in Cape Town. It was hit by an oncoming train.

Carlisle said he was being accompanied by education MEC Donald Grant, community safety MEC Dan Plato, and finance MEC Allan Winde.

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