Officials probe Roadlink bus crash

2012-05-16 21:51

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Bloemfontein - A special investigation has been launched into the SA Roadlink bus accident in the Free State in which five people were killed, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said on Wednesday.

It wanted to find out when last the bus was inspected for roadworthiness, whether a relief driver was on board and what rest stops were taken along the route, it said.

The five passengers were killed when the bus overturned on the N1, while travelling towards Bloemfontein at 04:45 on Wednesday, the Free State transport department said.

Spokesperson Zolile Walaza said the accident happened about 30km from Gariep Dam, towards Springfontein on the N1. The bus was carrying 28 passengers.

Free State police spokesperson Captain Harry Nagel said the bus overturned when the driver apparently swerved to avoid a wild animal.

Two people were trapped in the wreckage and had to be freed. They were taken to a hospital in Bloemfontein.

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele conveyed his condolences to the families of those killed.

He said the police, the RTMC and an independent team of accident investigation and reconstruction specialists had started investigating the crash.

Road Accident Fund officials were helping the families.

Ndebele said in the past four months, more than 17 343 unroadworthy vehicles, mostly buses and taxis, had been discontinued from use as part of the new national rolling enforcement plan.

The RTMC said the investigation into the bus accident would include the driver’s track record and the offence record of the company, in proportion to the number of buses in the fleet.

RTMC chief executive Collins Letsoalo asked all provincial and metropolitan traffic police departments to provide evidence of Roadlink buses which had been discontinued, impounded or involved in crashes in the past five years.

The intention was to determine the safety record of the bus company and take appropriate action where necessary.

"We cannot allow our vulnerable, paying road users to be held at ransom by operators whose safety record was wanting," said Letsoalo.

The public should report any unsafe incidences they had experienced while using Roadlink or any other bus company.

Letsoalo said the traffic authorities would continue to check all long distance and luxury coaches at weighbridges, tollgates, bus depots and train stations.

The police were also investigating a case of culpable homicide.

- SAPA

Read more on:    sa roadlink  |  rtmc  |  sibusiso ndebele  |  bloemfontein  |  accidents  |  transport
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