News24

Officials retrieving bus from river

2011-08-24 12:33

Cape Town - Rescue personnel are trying to retrieve the school bus that plunged into a river in Knysna, Western Cape police and emergency officials said on Wednesday.

"The only part of the bus sticking out of the water is the rear," ER24’s Andre Visser said.

The death toll from the disaster now stands at 17, with 16 of the fatalities being children and the other being the bus driver, provincial authorities confirmed just after midday.

Some of the parents of the deceased children have been notified. The victims were aged between 7 and 16, said ER24’s Andre Visser.

Forty-two children were being treated at hospitals in the area, mainly for shock and minor injuries, he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Potje told News24 he could also not say if the death toll would rise as they were unsure if there were more bodies submerged under the water. 

Children all at one school

The accident happened just before 08:00 when the vehicle “went through the barrier” of a bridge and plunged into a river while on its way to Rheenendal Primary School.

All the children attended the school.

An official at the school, speaking on condition of anonymity, told News24 that classes were continuing on Wednesday. 

Western Cape transport MEC Robin Carlisle was on his way to Knysna, Sapa reported.

"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.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy and a bitter blow coming one day from the anniversary tomorrow (Thursday) 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.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts

Comments
  • EYESAY - 2011-08-24 12:39

    My heartfelt sympathy for those parents. RIP.

  • cliffordfuthane - 2011-08-24 12:39

    Sadness

  • Nonto - 2011-08-24 12:40

    SAD. Very SAD story.

  • jochem - 2011-08-24 12:41

    What if the driver had been negligent? The man is dead, how is he going to be "savagely punished"?

      Taboo - 2011-08-24 12:45

      i thought the same!!!!

      Shistirrer - 2011-08-24 12:47

      Not necessarily the driver. Some operators (owners) of school buses are notorious for not doing proper maintenance on the vehicles. Could have been a tyre blow-out, brakes failing, anything. Or, as you say, driver negligence. I guess there will be a proper investigation, and if the problem was poor maintenance, I hope they put the owner away permanently for culpable homicide.

      SGL - 2011-08-24 13:05

      It could be that the man had a heart attack or black out. No blame can be placed until an autopsy has been carried out and a medical reason is ruled out.

      adam bryant - 2011-08-24 18:47

      um, well i think if it was his fault he's been punished already.....what do you think is fitting punishment for a dead man??

  • Tokkel Loshi - 2011-08-24 12:42

    SAD my thoughts are with these parents

  • zulufox - 2011-08-24 12:43

    what a sad sad day... this is one of the saddest tragedies in SA's children transportation history...

  • Komasa - 2011-08-24 12:43

    Robin Carlisle 'guilty will be SAVAGELY punished'. Amazing how you use a tragic accident to band stand your political rhetoric. R.I.P

      ohwhatever@24.com - 2011-08-24 13:23

      Sorry...please explain where the "political rhetoric" came into his statement? He is merely stating that those responsible will be bought to book, there is nothing political about that? And if he had not spoken up against this tragedy, I am sure you would have attacked him for keeping quiet!

      ohwhatever@24.com - 2011-08-24 13:23

      Sorry...please explain where the "political rhetoric" came into his statement? He is merely stating that those responsible will be bought to book, there is nothing political about that? And if he had not spoken up against this tragedy, I am sure you would have attacked him for keeping quiet!

      ohwhatever@24.com - 2011-08-24 13:24

      Sorry...please explain where the "political rhetoric" came into his statement? He is merely stating that those responsible will be bought to book, there is nothing political about that? And if he had not spoken up against this tragedy, I am sure you would have attacked him for keeping quiet!

      Jeffrey Jones - 2011-08-24 15:13

      It's his job to see that anyone responsible is punished. MEC's in the Western Cape do their damn work. You wouldn't understand politicians actually working if you're an ANC supporter. Kids died, possibly as a result of negligence, and you are the one making a political point of it. Crawl back under your stone you insensitive moron

      Peeved - 2011-08-24 15:40

      You are a twat

  • Clarissa - 2011-08-24 12:47

    Ai, tog ...

  • Spaffy - 2011-08-24 12:48

    I cannot imagine what those parents must be going through. Condolences to the families.

  • Gardener - 2011-08-24 12:50

    RIP little ones!!

  • Serias - 2011-08-24 12:50

    Terrible, absolutely heart breaking. You put your kids on the bus to school and expect them to come back home. How things can change in a heartbeat.

  • 2shy2call - 2011-08-24 12:50

    May their souls rest in peace. My condolences

  • Wakker Seun - 2011-08-24 12:56

    Fokkit dis hartseer. Alle sterkte vir die families.

  • Ockert - 2011-08-24 12:57

    Savagely punished - get a life Carlisle or is it Potje - maybe the same should be said about the rapes and murders, guys you are public officials, go to classes on how to speak to the media.

  • BOFFINBOB - 2011-08-24 12:57

    Ag no....This is not right ! Sincere condolances.

  • pig - 2011-08-24 12:58

    my condolences to the family's

  • Stef - 2011-08-24 12:58

    One's thoughts are with the surviving children and the families. However, I cannot help wondering whether this clown Robin Carlisle is going to turn this into another sick publicity stunt for himself as he did last year with the Blackheath tragedy when he played traffic cop for cars at the railway crossing, having invited the media to come and take pictures of him.

      Vanessa - 2011-08-24 13:18

      @ STEF....Clearly, I am having a blond day. :-) WHo is Robin Carlisle

      Niknac - 2011-08-24 14:07

      @ Vanessa ....Western Cape transport MEC

  • Janbrad - 2011-08-24 12:58

    RIP little Angels :(

  • nicci.eaglestone - 2011-08-24 13:01

    So Tragic!! RIP!! My condolences to all the families.

  • Susannomore - 2011-08-24 13:01

    My daughter takes the bus to school. All I want now is the message I get every day to say that she is safe home. RIP little ones. My deepest condolenses to all the friends and family.

  • SGL - 2011-08-24 13:03

    Very sad to read. RIP all the victims and condolences to all the families and friends. Brings back the aweful memories of the Wemmerpan bus tragedy.

  • derkus - 2011-08-24 13:07

    it is a year ago today that we had the train hit a taxi that ignored the booms and 10 kids lost their lives very very sad

      Vanessa - 2011-08-24 13:17

      @ Derkus - I heard the Taxi Blackheath accident happened tomorrow One year ago... I could be wrong...

  • KimmyH - 2011-08-24 13:12

    Deepest sympathy to the families:-(

  • Vanessa - 2011-08-24 13:15

    This is Terrible. Why is it always children that are dying.... Why do they have to pay when they are innocent. To all the families, God Bless and my condolences...

  • Malva69 - 2011-08-24 13:15

    RIP

  • djmilano.26 - 2011-08-24 13:16

    Painful

  • Stevie - 2011-08-24 13:22

    My heartfelt condolences to the fammillies concerned. Very sad and tragic.

  • nn.prv - 2011-08-24 13:24

    *Tears*

  • Andre - 2011-08-24 13:25

    What has not been mentioned is the torrential rains in the surrounding area overnight, possibly contributing to conditions at the time of the accident. The investigation will reveal the potential cause of this horrendous event.

  • debbie.martins1 - 2011-08-24 13:27

    This is a terrible tragedy, My heart gos out to those families who have lost loved ones. Death is difficult to deal with , even more so when its suddenand tragic. All we can d is keep the in our prayers and ask God to comfort those eft behind feeing the pain of loss.

  • brett.macdonald1 - 2011-08-24 13:29

    This is the second tragedy I'm aware of, where a bus broke through a bridge barrier and went into the water drowning school children. We need to legislate tougher criteria for the barriers over water bodies to stop these and similar accidents happening. Simply put, the barriers must be constructed in a way that no vehicle can go through them.

  • Hopnop - 2011-08-24 13:29

    Who said the driver was male??

  • laties - 2011-08-24 13:36

    Very sad. My deepest sympathy to all those who lost their loved ones.

  • Linda - 2011-08-24 13:44

    My heart goes out to the parents of the children. I am a parent myself and am deeply touched by the loss of any child, especially in circumstances like these. May God give you the strength you need to cope with the loss.

  • Peculiar - 2011-08-24 13:47

    I think the bus was not road worthy or children were to much inside the bus,I send my condolence to those families who lost their kids and to the school who lost also. may thier soul rest in peace

  • sheila.pinheiro - 2011-08-24 13:52

    :( very sad indeed. My condolences and heartfelt sympathy for the families of these little ones. May they rest in peace!

  • Irish - 2011-08-24 13:53

    Loss of life through unnatural means is always tragic irrespective how the individuals died. Even more so when young children, who are still largely untainted by the evils of modern society have their lives snuffed out. Heartfelt condolonces to all relations and friends!!!

  • jaredmgodwin - 2011-08-24 13:55

    This is a terrible tragedy, my prayers and thoughts are with the families affected.

  • chantelle.caulkett - 2011-08-24 13:59

    My thoughts and prayers to all those who have lost their loved ones :(

  • Sharon - 2011-08-24 14:05

    May the Lord our God be with the parents at this sad time.

  • SACOUNTRY - 2011-08-24 14:08

    Ai tog mense, dit is ongelooflike hartseer. Ek kan myself nie eers indink hoe moet daai ouers voel nie! Baie, baie Sad nuus! :( Het trane in my oe! Sterkte aan die families!

  • micki - 2011-08-24 14:22

    My God, you are wiping out your own people through your lack of insight, your inexperience, your ignorance and what else not. Why the young, innocent children?

  • Ettienne - 2011-08-24 14:45

    WHAT BARRIER? Reporters look at your photo's.......ignorant. Condolences to the families. Second Bus accident where innocent people have been killed in two days. Very sad.

  • vp - 2011-08-24 15:37

    Rest in Peace little ones. A really sad day.

  • Nicolene - 2011-08-24 15:38

    It's so sad. I can't stop thinking it could happen to anyone. So treasure your children. My prayers are with the families.

  • justme...again - 2011-08-24 15:43

    Reminds me of the Westdene bus accident years ago. RIP

  • ZoomZoom - 2011-08-24 17:36

    17 lives??? living in the USA, the entire country will be holding a day of mourning, this is an aweful and very sad disaster - the whole supply chain from national government, local government, education dep, school, transport dep, owners of the bus should be reviewed. If another disaster ever happens in such scale these lives would be lost in vain! Hope the MEC is providing some counciling to these families and school children.

  • Gordon - 2011-08-24 22:29

    "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. Oh, my God ............ so it'll be a witch-hunt, so as to "savagely punish" what might just be, after all, an accident. And what of "savagely punishing" someone in this day and age? As far as I know, corporal punishment is anathema in today's South Africa. What say you, Mr Carisle? Yet another knee-jerk remark to substantiate your post, perhaps?

  • Gordon - 2011-08-24 22:44

    What would South Africa be without the inane statements emitting from politicians mouths (Mr Carisle, et al)?

  • Platsak - 2011-08-24 23:07

    Rest in Peace! So sad and unfair:(