Eastern Cape crash: Families pray before identifying loved ones

2015-08-31 15:30
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Durban - Before entering the Butterworth Forensic Mortuary on Monday to identify their loved ones, the 35 families of those who perished in the Eastern Cape bus accident, gathered to pray.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the families arrived early on Monday to view the bodies of those who died when the bus in which they were travelling overturned on the R408 between Butterworth and Willowvale on Saturday.

It was also reported 10 people died in a separate accident when a minibus taxi overturned on the R61 between Cradock and Graaff Reinet.

Kupelo said autopsies on the bus accident victims were completed on Sunday. The official death toll was now 35 people - 16 men, 16 women and three children, the youngest of whom was 3 years old.

Three people admitted to Frere Hospital had since been referred to Butterworth Hospital as their condition had improved.

"We still have one person in ICU at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital," he said. 

Eastern Cape social development spokesperson Gcobani Maswana said social workers visited the families at the weekend.

"They went to assess their immediate state so they could make recommendations. We are working together with the South Africa Social Security Agency and the municipality to provide relief to the families," said Maswana.

Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane said a team of experts had been deployed to investigate the cause of the accident.

"Their investigation will look into the human factor, which relates to the fitness of the driver. They will look at the vehicle factors - whether the vehicle was roadworthy or not, and if the driver was speeding. “They will also look at the engineering factors, whether there were issue on the road that could have contributed to the crash."

President Jacob Zuma on Sunday called for caution on the roads following the high number of fatalities.

In Swaziland, 65 young women reportedly participating in the annual traditional Umhlanga Reed Dance, died in an accident at the weekend. It was reported they were en route to cut reeds for the annual ceremony taking place on Monday, when the accident happened.

The death toll was currently being disputed though, with the Swazi police reportedly saying 13 people - 11 young women and two men - died. However, the Swaziland Solidarity Network had reported the higher figure.

Lucky Lukhele from the Swaziland Solidarity Network told eNCA the number was changed to allow the Swazi king to continue with the Reed dance.

Closer to home, in 2013, more than 10 young women participating in the annual Reed Dance died in a bus accident outside Eshowe in KwaZulu-Natal. The women and their guardians were travelling home from Nongoma, in the northern part of the province.

Read more on:    east london  |  accidents

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