7 Wits students killed in Limpopo crash

2016-05-02 19:24
Fatal taxi crash. (Supplied by ER24)

Fatal taxi crash. (Supplied by ER24)

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Polokwane - Seven students from the University of Witwatersrand were killed and six others were injured when the minibus taxi they were travelling in collided with a trailer along the N1 south near Mokopane on Sunday night, Limpopo emergency medical services said.

Spokesperson Kagiso Mootane told News24 on Monday that the crash about 20 kilometres from the Nyl Toll Plaza some time after 23:00.

She said the students were travelling back to Johannesburg from a Zion Christian Church (ZCC) pilgrimage they had attended in Moletjie, just outside Polokwane.

A truck had broken down along the highway earlier and part of trailer was still on the road. When the taxi carrying the students approached, the driver, who was allegedly driving at a high speed, did not see the trailer because there were no visible reflective signs warning him.

"He hit the trailer, lost control of the vehicle and then he hit some trees before the minibus caught fire," Mootane said.

Eight people, including the driver, were killed while the six injured were taken to nearby hospitals for further treatment. Some of the students were burnt beyond recognition, she said.

Plans were currently under way to help identify the bodies of the deceased.

Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib, Dean of Students Pamela Dube as well as members of the Student Representative Council were in the province to assist with the process.

"The university flag will be lowered and will fly at half-mast in honour of our students who passed away and a memorial service will be arranged after consultation with the families," spokesperson Shirona Patel said in a statement.

"The university extends its deepest sympathies to the friends and family of those who passed away during this difficult period."

The Congress of the People and the Democratic Alliance also sent their condolences to the families and friends of the students.

Cope leader Mosioua Lekota said he was deeply saddened by the news and how the students had met their untimely death.

"Cope is very much disturbed by the recent spate of accidents where many lives were lost," Lekota said.

"We hope that the authorities will ascertain the cause of these accidents and determine what measures must be taken to prevent further accidents of this nature."

The DA's national spokesperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe wished those who survived the crash a speedy recovery.

"We wish the families and friends of all involved strength in this time of tragedy.

"The DA believes in the safety of all of the citizens of South African and urges all road users to drive safely and with caution when travelling this long weekend," Nt'sekhe said.

Read more on:    wits university  |  polokwane  |  accidents

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