Kids hurt as bus crashes into cars, uproots trees

2009-10-21 00:00

BRAKE failure has been blamed for the bus accident in which 22 people, including a Witness newspaper vendor, were injured at the intersection of Mayor’s Walk and Neville Road yesterday morning.

Four people were critically injured.

Sixteen of the injured were schoolchildren, and five were adults from the bus and two cars that were involved in the accident.

The bus, which belongs to the Sevontein Correctional Facility in Elandskop, was taking staff members’ children to their schools in the city when it experienced brake failure coming down Neville Road.

The bus knocked down newspaper vendor Sibusiso Nkabinde (in his fifties), and crashed into two vehicles. It also uprooted two trees that the driver apparently tried to use to stop the runaway bus.

A witness who did not want to be named said it is a miracle no one was killed.

“I saw the bus making the dangerous turn. It hit a Kia vehicle and then the Polo; it then uprooted two trees as it tried to brake.”

The bus dragged the second tree for at least two metres before it came to a stop.

The source said the children were not seriously hurt, but they were in shock. “They had to break the windows of the bus to get out as the doors had become stuck.”

Other sources close to the correctional facility said the bus had faulty brakes.

“The bus travelled from Elands­kop and the brakes on its back wheels were ‘very cold’, which means that they were not functioning properly.”

Sergie Naidoo, the contractor who has employed Nkabinde for the past 15 years as a newspaper vendor, said it is sad that he suffered such serious injuries when he was clearly not in the wrong. He described Nkabinde as a pleasant man and easy to work with.

Correctional Services spokeswoman Nokuthula Zikhali confirmed that the bus was taking children to Prestbury and Piet Retief schools when it suffered brake failure.

“What is puzzling is that the bus had just come back from a service, so we do not know how this could happen.”

Traffic in the area was disrupted after the accident.

In another accident, nine people were injured, two seriously, when a minibus taxi and a car collided on the R61 in South- broome on the south coast yesterday.

In a similar incident in Durban yesterday, 14 people were injured, two seriously, when a taxi slammed into the back of a light motor vehicle on the M25 KwaMashu Highway near Besters.

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