Speeding blamed for fatal KZN bus crash

2013-04-25 08:05
The bus which crashed in KwaZulu-Natal, killing eight pupils. (Skhumbuzo Miya, The Witness)

The bus which crashed in KwaZulu-Natal, killing eight pupils. (Skhumbuzo Miya, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - The driver of a KwaZulu-Natal school bus that crashed, killing eight pupils, was allegedly speeding and ignored warnings to slow down on the wet road.

He lost control while going down a hill on the P487 near Ulundi and crashed on a bend on the road late on Tuesday night.

Eight pupils from Zamimpilo Special School died on the scene, five were critically injured, nine were less seriously hurt and 20 had minor injuries. The injured were taken to the nearby kwaCeza Hospital.

Speeding

The teachers and pupils were returning to their school from the Disability Sports KZN Cluster Games in Richards Bay.

Education MEC Senzo Mchunu told The Witness that the school principal, Bheki Xulu, had told him he phoned one of the teachers to find out how far they were on their way back to school.

“He was told that they were 15 minutes away from their school and that the driver of the bus was speeding,” said Mchunu.

The teacher had said the driver was not happy about being warned to slow down.

The MEC said he was deeply saddened by the death of the pupils.

“We send our deepest condolences to their families and we pray that they find strength during this very difficult period. We would also like to wish a speedy recovery to those who are in hospital.”

Mchunu said the police were investigating an allegation that the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

He added that the trip had been authorised by the education department.

Service, new tyres

Xulu told The Witness that the school bus had undergone a full service and had been fitted with new tyres just before Easter.

He said that when the bus was travelling downhill on the road near the hospital, it failed to engage low gear, the engine cut out and the driver lost control.

Zululand District Mayor Zanele Magwaza-Msibi said she was shocked to learn of the crash, which had happened just a few days after an accident that claimed five lives in Melmoth last week.

She said the district municipality was prepared to help the affected families.

Zululand district spokesperson Skhumbuzo Miya said at the scene on Wednesday that parents and relatives were crying hysterically.

He said the wrecked bus was spattered with blood.

Some of the pupils were partly blinded, some deaf and others physically disabled.

“Some who are mentally challenged don’t understand what’s happening.”

He said the driver was in hospital under police guard.

When the driver lost control, the bus fell onto its left side, sliding along the road before coming back onto its wheels again, he added. Rocks had prevented it from rolling on to its right side.

He said all the pupils were boarders and that their parents were not at the scene.

Crashes cost SA R306bn a year

Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins said an accident specialist had been appointed to assist with the investigation of the crash.

“Road traffic crashes cost our country’s economy approximately R306bn a year.

“This does not take into account the terrible pain and anguish of the parents and relatives of those that are killed.”

Martins said the only way to stop irresponsible behaviour on the country’s roads was to impose harsher penalties on motorists who disregarded the rules of the road.

“At present road crashes are reportedly the leading cause of death among the 15-29 age group. By 2015, it is projected to be the leading cause of death in the 5-15 age group, causing more deaths even than HIV and malaria.”

Alcohol abuse caused half of these injuries and deaths.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated and no arrests has been made.

Read more on:    ben martins  |  pietermaritzburg  |  accidents
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.