It’s a miracle, says principal after pupils in bus escape 33-metre plunge

2010-09-03 00:00

“IT is a real miracle that they are alive,” said Howick High headmaster Rob Langley about the busload of pupils that plummeted from the Karkloof road.

The U14 soccer team was travelling back from a match in Greytown and the driver opted against driving through Pietermaritzburg because of road works.

Langley said that although the Karkloof road requires that motorists drive slowly, he generally finds it to be a “clear run” and has been using it for 16 years.

The cause of the accident is not known at this stage. However, residents report that there have been four accidents on the same stretch of road in two weeks.

Said Rob Rawson, manager of Mbona estate off the Karkloof road, “The roads are just getting worse every year. We phone and moan, but very little gets done.”

“They were very angry,” said Langley of the residents’ response to the crash.

Blake Mckenzie of the cost centre attached to the Transport Department, responding to complaints about the road’s condition, said there is a lack of funding to tar it. He said it was widened a few years ago, but he could not say more until the road had been looked at.

The gravel on the road is rutted by timber trucks that use it frequently. The uneven surface and the sudden bends can catch drivers unawares. Other problems include excessive dust, which limits visibility, its narrow width considering the large vehicles that use it, a lack of barriers on the bends and signage that is not easily visible.

Although the bus plunged 33-metres drop, only one of the 13 pupils remained in hospital for observation overnight and the most serious injuries are lacerations and bruises. “We are thanking God,” said Langley.

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