Meyerton bus crash report out soon

2012-06-27 18:02
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Meyerton bus crash

A bus crash in Meyerton, Gauteng, has left 19 people dead and 55 injured. Paramedics worked to free 85 people trapped inside the Putco vehicle. See all the pictures.

Johannesburg - A preliminary report on the cause of a bus accident that claimed 19 lives in Meyerton will be available on Friday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said.

"Teams from the police and RTMC are working together to compile the preliminary report that will give us the major contributing factors to the accident," spokesperson Ashref Ismail said on Wednesday.

"This could tell us if the accident was caused by driver error or vehicle defect. A more detailed report would take four to six weeks."

On Monday morning, a Putco bus driver lost control of the vehicle on the R59 en route to Meyerton. It crashed through a bridge railing before plummeting 10m to the ground, landing on its side.

Fifty-five people were injured, three of them critically. The bus driver was among those killed.

Conflicting information on roadworthiness

The Star reported that the bus was among eight Putco buses taken off the road after they failed a roadworthy test at the Meyerton testing station on June 12. Putco denied this.

"I have the document from the Midvaal municipality dated June 14, indicating that the bus passed the test," Putco spokesperson Raphiri Matsaneng said.

"That boggles me, because if it was true then I would not have this document. We have had accidents in the past. That is why we put measures in place to remedy the situation."

Gauteng's roads and transport portfolio committee said it would help to determine the cause of the accident.

"We will leave no stone unturned and want to involve all relevant stakeholders to ensure that this doesn't happen again," acting chairperson Refilwe Mogale said.

"In order to investigate the efficiency of the service provided to customers, we need to find the shortfalls that might be there."

Arguments on bus

On Tuesday, Putco officials and the committee visited the crash scene, the injured, and relatives of the deceased.

"We interviewed some survivors who told us passengers told the driver to reduce his speed," Mogale said.

"Apparently there were arguments because they were approaching an on-ramp and some passengers wanted him to turn left and others right. He might have also been confused. We will continue investigations and will wait for the report."

Mogale said at least three of the survivors were in intensive care, one in a critical condition and on life-support machines. One passenger suffered memory loss. Those with minor injuries had been discharged.

Earlier, Ismail said the RTMC was worried about the safety of Putco's operations, and that of other buses.

"Every bus found to be unroadworthy is suspicious - we can't allow these hazards on our roads, claiming people's lives," said Ismail.

"Putco knows about the regulations and they need to get their act together. We can't allow companies to hold [to] ransom our most vulnerable commuters. Some of these people are the poorest of the poor and rely on public transport."

Since January 2007, Putco buses were involved in about 20 accidents that killed over 50 people and injured 580.
Read more on:    rtmc  |  johannesburg  |  accidents

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