Bus plunges down cliff, seven killed

2013-08-07 00:00

AN accident in Phongolo in northern KwaZulu-Natal claimed the lives of seven people when the bus they were travelling in plunged 40 metres down a cliff yesterday morning.

A local councillor, John Dlamini, told The Witness the bus was transporting people from the Ntumbane village and was 15 km from Phongolo when it is suspected the bus had a burst tyre on the right side and the driver lost control, hitting a wall and sending the bus plunging down the cliff near the Mphendlule River.

“Emergency personnel were helped by members of the community to use ropes to pull out the injured and those who had died,” Dlamini said, adding that five people including an elderly couple died on scene and two others were pronounced dead at Itshelejuba Hospital.

Zululand District Municipality (ZDM) Mayor and National Freedom Party (NFP) president Zanele KaMagwaza Msibi said a number of people were seriously injured and taken to Itshelejuba Hospital and other nearby hospitals for treatment.

KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu expressed his shock at yet another fatal accident.

“Such accidents are an indication that more needs to be done to educate road users about the importance of road safety. This is the third major accident in the space of seven days,” he said. “On July 30 we received reports of an accident that took five lives in Shaka’s Kraal. Subsequently, last Sunday we heard the news of the death of five people who were burnt in Mgababa following a collision that set the vehicles involved alight.”

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated. The names of the dead had not yet been released by late yesterday as their next of kin had not been informed as they were being sought.

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