Horror crash: bus unroadworthy, licence expired

2011-07-19 00:00

POORLY maintained buses are to blame for two serious accidents at the weekend that left 13 people dead and 129 injured, according to authorities.

In the early hours of yesterday morning 80 people were injured, 11 seriously, when a passenger bus overturned on the N2 near Amanzimtoti on the South Coast.

The passenger bus belongs to Siyaya Coaches and was travelling from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape to Durban when a tyre burst.

Road Traffic Inspectorate chief provincial spokesperson Rajen Chinaboo said it seems a “bad tyre” was the cause of the accident and that the bus service will have to comply with a police investigation.

“The bus from the Eastern Cape lost control while rounding a bend at Prospecton, smashed through the barriers and overturned.

“It’s fortunate that there were no fatalities,” said Chinaboo.

Netcare 911 and provincial paramedics arrived at the scene to find the crumpled remains of the bus on its side in the centre median.

The injured passengers were scattered over a large area with three still trapped in the wreckage.

Netcare 911 Chris Botha said paramedics stabilised the injured and took them to various hospitals.

“A combined operation between fire and police rescue hoisted the bus to ensure that there were no passengers trapped under the wreckage,” said Botha.

The driver of the bus, Phumelele Bonga, said the tyre on his side of the bus caused the accident.

“It happened so fast. The only thing I remember is hearing a loud bang from the tyre burst and the bus veered off the road, hitting the guard rails and landing on its side,” said Bonga, who was still shaken by the accident.

In an accident in Limpopo on Sunday, 13 Zimbabweans were killed and 49 were injured in a bus accident on the N1 near Makhado (Louis Trichardt).

A team of investigation and reconstruction specialists were

assigned to assist in the investigation of the accident. The brakes of the bus failed, causing the driver to lose control. The bus was en route from Malawi.

Limpopo traffic department spokesperson Sehlapelo Keshetse said the bus was not roadworthy and its licence had expired.

The executive manager of the South African Bus Owners’ Association, Eric Cornelius, expressed concern over the increase in bus accidents in the past two years.

Cornelius said that while police must be praised for clamping down on bus owners, the focus needs to be “on real issues such as poor tyres, bad lights, brakes and other practical components”.

“The issue of roadworthiness is often taken out of context. A bus is sometimes deemed un-roadworthy if it has a torn seat and when an inspection is done after an accident it is discovered that the bus was in fact in perfect working order,” he said.

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