Bus seems to have stalled, rolled into river

2011-08-24 14:33

Cape Town - A school bus that plunged into a river in Knysna, killing 16 children, appears to have stalled and then rolled back into the water, Western Cape Transport MEC Robin Carlisle told News24.

The bus, which has now been removed from the river, had 59 people on board and was on its way to Rheenendal Primary School. The driver was also killed in the tragedy.

Carlisle said it appeared that the bus was trying to cross the low bridge and was climbing up the bank, stalled and then rolled backwards into the river.

ER24’s Andre Visser earlier told News24 that the bus broke through a barrier on the bridge.

Forty-two children were hospitalised, most of them with just minor injuries such as scrapes, bruises and mild hypothermia.

Carlisle said a full forensic investigation would be conducted into the cause of the accident. 

  • MTRJ - 2011-08-24 14:46

    This is a tragedy. So many little lives lost! :( But then again, how competent was the bus driver? I would guess that if you stall on a uphill, the first thing you do is apply the brakes and handbrake. Then gently and safely go backwards. This just re-affirms my decision not to allow my kids to go on school trips any-more. These days you have to sign a waiver form that basically says you cannot hold the school liable in case something happens to your child. So you basically sign you child away. Not cool. Heartfelt condolences to the parents who lost their children in this unfortunate incident. :(

      MTRJ - 2011-08-24 15:37

      Come all you people that gave me the thumbs down. Why don't you reply and tell me why? One cannot just for the sake of a tragedy sweep the cause under the rug! Otherwise these things will keep on happening!

      legens - 2011-08-24 15:40

      as a father i find this massively , massively upsetting .may the survivors and the family of the casualties recieve all the support they deserve

      MTRJ - 2011-08-24 15:42

      And looking at the photo's, should a bus not have a emergency exit at the back that can be easily kicked out? This one seems to not even have a back window.

      dean.obree - 2011-08-24 15:53

      ABBA father, I come to you in the name of your son Jesus and ask that you send the comforter to all the people who lost in this tragedy.May your grace be abundant to everyone involved. Amen

      Samantha - 2011-08-24 15:56

      i feel the same way about letting my boys on school outings, - very scary

      luluthezulu - 2011-08-24 16:15

      Common law will always protect citizens from 'signing away their rights'; I went through the same fuss about school indemnity; my lawyer put me straight. The form is to help the school with their insurance etc.

      Martin-John - 2011-08-24 16:24

      @ MTRJ On one of the pics you can see that the window next to the rear panel was kicked out or removed. The rearest windows of a bus without back windows serves as emergency exits. Bear in mind that at the angle this bus came to a standstill and the occupants being only small children even back window kickouts would be very difficult. I get cold shivers just to think of the panic that was inside that bus after it hit the water. Its the one way of death that I never want to experience...Drowning.. We all need to pray for the families that are in moarning right now... Parents are not suppose to say goodbye for ever to their children... R I P little angels...

      pgibbings1 - 2011-08-24 17:34

      @MTRJ I agree with you about the competancy of the bus driver - they are real issues. But with regards to your comment about the emergency exit at the back, i'd imagine that if the bus rolled backwards into the river, the backdoor would not have helped much...

  • Lee - 2011-08-24 15:01

    It's fine to apply brakes but what if the bus was in bad shape and the brakes or handbrake was not strong enough. I have been on a hill with a car I had that just kept rolling back when I tried to take off at a robot and it was very scary and was sent in for repairs immediatley. Very sad and I also feel very sorry for the bus driver if in fact the bus was faulty. RIP those poor little soles that died as well.

      MTRJ - 2011-08-24 15:35

      My point exactly. If your handbrake and brakes are not strong enough to hold the vehicle stationary on a hill, then it's not roadworthy and should not have been allowed to ferry people around! Especially children!

      kenneth.roselt - 2011-08-24 15:49

      if handbrake was that weak (assumption here), why not engage into gear and stop bus that way, inexperience on bus drivers side might also be to blame. MTRJ, i support you in not letting my girl go on school outtings either, would nt want anything to happen to her.

      Vanessa - 2011-08-24 15:51

      MTRJ - I really like your views on things here. Brilliant Points!! If the brakes were in bad shape, what the hell is he doing transporting CHILDREN!

      Martin-John - 2011-08-24 16:17

      @ Kenneth. If the engine stalled and the brakes did not work correctly He could not get it into any gear since a bus gearbox do not work the same way as your cars. There is no sincro meshes in the box which means that if the bus is rolling backwards as reported, he would not be at all able to engage 1st gear..

  • Pictureof - 2011-08-24 15:02

    That bus had better be roadworthy and this had better be an act of God. If not I hope whoever is responsible gets what they deserve. I cant even begin to imagine how the parents must be feeling now, I am just greatful I have never had to go through this.

      Vanessa - 2011-08-24 15:53

      Well - Do you think that the Taxi Driver from the Blackheath crossing killing 10 kids got what he deserved, the taxi driver actually smiled when he appeared in court, and he is still roaming the streets, SOuth Africa Justice System is Stupid. And No-one is doing a darn thing to correct it. I Might be wrong!!

      1.michelle.lee - 2011-08-24 17:59

      God does not cause tragidies.

      legens - 2011-08-24 20:24

      @pictureof just like you religious lot .want to bring your fairytales into everything .keep your arrogant comments about your deity for yourself or sunday storytime . something very serious and tragic happened today and i don`t bring in the toothfairy to raise a comment do i? inappropriate one would say .well the same goes for you raising your deity. @michelle .of course your toothfairy only does good things .all bad thing happen because man was given the ability to choose or it was that other figment of your imagination ..the devil.grow up will you

      Oom Filimon - 2011-08-25 10:31

      What do you mean "Act of God".........WTF........does your god or whatever decide to kill/take the lives of little children??!! You frikkin jesus-freaks make me wanna puke........Take your toothfairy stories and put them where the sun don't shine.......

  • blog24 - 2011-08-24 15:04

    it dose not make sence, if he stalled and then rolled backwards would the back of the bus not be emerged in the water and not the front of the bus??? Its a very sad tragedy, my thoughts are with all the families that lost their loved one.

      Lerato - 2011-08-24 15:42

      Good question Blog24

      Vanessa - 2011-08-24 15:54

      YEAH - Good question - It could be a Cover Up from Mr Carlise himself. hhmmmmmm....

      Samantha - 2011-08-24 15:55

      i was just thinking the same thing, if i rolled backwards, how come the back of the bus is sticking out of the water- and it has no emergency exit window on the back,

      blog24 - 2011-08-24 16:32

      Lets see what comes of the full forensic investigation into the real cause of the accident. Samantha you are right no emergency exit window at the back.

      Pickle - 2011-08-24 17:37

      Good question... But if you think about it.. bus starts rolling backwards, bus driver makes a sharp turn to the right ( out of panic i guess) then the front would have gone in first on like a sideways angle... Mayebe thats what happened?

      Kisha - 2011-08-25 05:06

      Even if there was an emergency window, how many kids know about it and then even have the strength to kick it out when they are almost upside down?

      Airborne68 - 2011-08-25 06:06

      Probably because the weight of the engine and gearbox dragged it down in the front. That river looks very deep.

  • Juliana - 2011-08-24 15:04

    I believe the children complained before about the brakes not working well?

  • Barry - 2011-08-24 15:05

    Shame little ones little ones Condolences to all families and may they R.I.P.

  • Pictureof - 2011-08-24 15:05

    Just looking at the photos. I am no expert but doesnt it appear the bus went into the water head first??

      Joe Blow - 2011-08-24 15:12

      It might appear that way, but if it rolled backwards it is also possible that it rolled back, almost made it past the rear of the bridge then toppled over to the left. Why speculate though? This is a day of mourning.

  • verneukpan - 2011-08-24 15:07

    how tragic - sincere condlences to the parents, families and friends. Heart breaking.

      Taboo - 2011-08-24 15:20

      Yes, it is very heart breaking. Those poor families. I can not begin to imagine their heartache.

  • Orosman - 2011-08-24 15:09

    The trauma to the other kids, the families, the teachers and the community of Knysna as a whole. WHY?? in the prime of their lives. There is never an answer to this.I can only but pray for those left behind. Well, safe in the hands of our good LORD now.

  • Chris Venter - 2011-08-24 15:13

    Dont blame the bus driver check if the bus was road worthy and when was it last serviced

      MTRJ - 2011-08-24 15:40

      When you abide by the health and safety act (which every company should actually do) then surely there will be checks done BEFORE the bus departs. Routine inspections saves lives! The bus driver surely has driven the bus recently and should have noticed that the brakes or whatever was not up to par and should have reported it. If he did report it and the school did not do anything about it, he should have refused to drive the bus in that condition. It's his right to refuse to do something that he feels is unsafe if there is just cause.

      JAVSA02 - 2011-08-24 19:54

      I agree with MTRJ. What has happened to responsibility and accountability. If the bus was unroadworthy (faulty brakes) then the driver should have refused to drive. I also agree, I hope that the owners / operators get what's coming to them with the FULL force of the law.

  • Doug - 2011-08-24 15:18

    My sincere condolences to all those involved in this tragedy.

  • frankm - 2011-08-24 15:20

    I hope the emergency workers get trauma counselling for this, I was involved in the Westdene bus disaster twenty odd years ago and we had no debriefing whatsoever, I still have nightmares of all those children who died and whose little bodies I had to work with. My sympathy goes out to the parents and siblings who have lost love ones, as well as the driver's family. God grant them the strength to stand this ordeal

      CarolS - 2011-08-24 15:28

      My sister lost her best friend in the Westdene tragedy. This brings back so many awful memories. I remember how devastating this was for her parents, and my heart breaks to think of how many parents are going through the same thing today. God bless you for having been there to help so many families all those years ago.

  • McDaNife - 2011-08-24 15:22

    Wow what young lives to lose. Just looking the pics of the accident I still cannot figure out how on earth he managed to roll back into the river unless his breaks failed.

  • Uninformed - 2011-08-24 15:26

    The bus was probably overloaded otherwise why didnt the brakes or handbrake stop the bus from rolling back? Maybe it just happened too quick. Condolences to the families.

  • Andre - 2011-08-24 15:29

    59 people in a 32-seater!! Apparently a 67-seater is the norm for this route, but this was not the case for today. Clearly could have been prevented

  • Zabatman - 2011-08-24 15:34

    59 people on the bus. Certified to carry 32 passengers.

  • Buic - 2011-08-24 15:35

    Theres no need to ask intelligent question in here, the best is to send love and strength to the families and parents of the kids. No Need for thumbs up people

  • CBCOZA - 2011-08-24 15:36

    Its a bridge.... Wheres the Barrier?

  • settlers - 2011-08-24 15:36

    This is so sad, my thoughts are with all the families, who might have lost someone.

  • reginald.v.cook - 2011-08-24 15:57

    Rolled backwards into the river.What bull.The tail-end of the bus is in the air,and the nose is in the water.How could it roll backwards and ended up in the water with its nose first?

  • Vanessa - 2011-08-24 15:57

    I would like to said my condolences to the families who have lost loved little ones, and also to the bus drivers family. My heart goes out to them.

  • reginald.v.cook - 2011-08-24 15:57

    My prayers are going out the families of these children.God bless all of you.

  • Ockert - 2011-08-24 15:58

    Carlisle shooting his mouth off again, before the real facts are known.

  • Orosman - 2011-08-24 16:01

    There is a side window at the back window kicked out. One has no idea what happened until a full investigation. The focus should be on those poor kids and their parents. The trauma of the Knysna Community instead of trying to think what may have taken place by the driver and the bus.

  • VELOCITY - 2011-08-24 16:01

    Tragic, tragic story so soon after the aircraft crash the other day. As a side note, I have a bus drivers license, if you stall a bus and the engine dies, the air pressure to the brakes quickly falls below a certain pressure and the brakes are applied automatically. It is impossible for a bus with a stalled engine to roll backwards by more than a meter or so.

  • Lorenzo - 2011-08-24 16:05

    My hearts go out to all the families who has lost a child in that tragic accident.I think the case needs to be investigated cause the comment made by Transport MEC western Cape is totally not making sense.The bus stolled and rolled backwards.look at the bus..Its back side is showing.If you look closely you can see that its a clear case of loss of control and bus went of the road into the river as ther is no barriers.the bus defenately didnt stall and roll backwards.

  • Lee - 2011-08-24 16:06

    @Kenneth.roselt I'm not getting at you but firstly picture yourself in this heavy bus on a steep hill and it stalls, you start running backwards at a real good speed and to have to put it in gear you put the clutch in which makes it go even faster plus try and start it and keep the bus sreight without weaving. Try rolling back backwards with your car on a hill and see if you keep your car streight. Extremely difficult and if the handbrake and brakes were faulty then that poor bus driver went through hell beleive me. That is if the bus was faulty and he might not have even owned the bus, he could have just been the driver.

  • Anita Cairns - 2011-08-24 16:11

    Everybody can be clever after the fact but the sad reality is that there are families today who have suffered a tragic loss. May all of them RIP

  • Neville - 2011-08-24 16:12

    One day before the 1st annivesary of the ten children who died at the Blackheath crossing last year , so sad

  • luluthezulu - 2011-08-24 16:19

    Common law will always protect the citizen. Indemnity/waiver forms help the school with their insurance issues. You cannot sign away your rights or your child's life. Having said that, I do also have issues with school buses, preferring to transport my son myself whenever possible. Accidents happen far too often in our beautiful country. My heart goes out to the bereaved parents and families. What a tragedy.

  • Arachnid - 2011-08-24 16:30

    If you look at the photos you'll note the front of the bus went into the river - it appears it didn't roll backwards at all.

  • kabo.j.masole - 2011-08-24 16:40

    My prayer is with the sad families durin this hard time. May the Almighty comfort them and those injured get quick recover.

  • Tina Bruwer - 2011-08-24 16:53

    This kids was on the way toschool, not an puting. Bus was their transport to and from school. What bothers me, when looking at the time of accident, past 8am, what time did the school start? Was the bus not late? According to reports it rained last night, how was the road, wet? And if I look at the pics with this report, it seems that the road have a bent. What did really happen........? Maybe the survivors will be able to tell a few things.

  • Pickle - 2011-08-24 17:31

    R.I.P little ones =,(

  • redd1 - 2011-08-24 17:51

    Firstly i know well about trucks, buse's and their mechanical setup. These types of buses that drive kids and passengers on long trips are completely useless because they have only a single axle at the rear the tare weight of these buses are usually 6000 to 11500. In this particular event the handbrakes at a incline failed. The goverment needs to force for school buses to be have double axles at rear , point being you have a almost zero failure rate on all wheels at once. The driver as well should have been sharp enough to swing the bus into the cliff instead he tried to save damage to the bus but i am sure he was incapable of reversing in a straight line at a speed. This loss of life is sad to hear off especially with kids, as a parent i can only think of the pain that some people are feeling right know. For other readers/users If your children are going by bus to a distant area, make sure its double/axled or rather use greyhound than those crap single axled ikwezi modelled buses.

  • TinaM - 2011-08-24 19:01

    This is the most tragic heartbreaking story I've had to read. Those poor poor children - I remember watching the Westdene bus disaster on Onthou and hope these disasters won't become statistics or events that happened during our country but that all action possible will be taken to prevent these tragedies from happening! My heart bleeds for the parents of these children, you're in many people's prayers!

  • Ben Fowler - 2011-08-24 20:07

    I have watched enough episodes of seconds from disaster (best program ever) to realize that their mantra is true. A disaster always follow a critical chain of events required for the disaster to happen. And in this chain of events there is always the human factor; whether it be design error, human negligence or MAINTENANCE negligence. It can almost always be traced back to the human factor.

  • Ben Fowler - 2011-08-24 20:08

    Here it is. The mantra: "Disasters don't just happen. They're triggered by a critical chain of events"

  • ignorance - 2011-08-24 21:23

    RIP ... Little Ones Is this just one more tragedy, such as when a open bakkie load of school children die, when the driver loses control or is drunk behind the vehicles wheel. The Government, the Traffic Department, and the Public cry loudly for about a week. Vehicles get stopped for about a week and drivers are reprimanded for not having enclosed canopies, but within a month, it's back to "normal", when you see hundreds of bakkies again transporting school kids stopping next to the Traffic / Metro police, who just look the other way. Who really cares ? The Parents -Yes; The survivors = Yes; The Government- NO; The Politicians - NO; The Metro/Traffic Police - NO; You and Me - Sometimes, Never, Who Really Cares. We seriously need to start doing something about all the unnecessary / innocent deaths in our country as we are becoming so immune to stories of tragedy, it's impact on society, no longer has significance, leading to acceptability and normality. As we continue, we all become savages, if we do not immediately start doing something constructive to put a stop to all this. I do not have the answers, but know we are all guilty, if we do not stop and make a difference. But sadly, next year this time, we will all still be bemoaning, a similar incident, when dozens of children again loose their lives in a tragedy and we will still be giving the thumbs up or down on News sites, but do we really care. !!!!!!!

  • eddiedaveymusician - 2011-08-25 06:10

    Oh, please God, Son & Holy Ghost, support and comfort these people! Eddie Pretoria

  • Fredster69 - 2011-08-25 07:59

    How can the bus roll back and end up with the fron and in the water? how stupid do you think we are? Sad lost for the families and I only trust that God can give you the strenght to carry on

  • Truestory - 2011-08-25 09:03

    This doesn't make sense. How can the bus end up in the water front first if it was rolling backwards? Also, I can see any "barriers" on that bridge.

  • Fred - 2011-08-25 09:17

    Why didn't the brakes work? busses have handbrakes and peddle brakes don't they?

  • Colline - 2011-08-25 09:26

    the bus was OVERLOADED! as is more often than not the a bunch of children lost their lives due to the culture of over loading!

  • Neveda - 2011-08-25 09:42

    This really reminds me of the bus/train accident of last year 25th August 2010 exactly a year ago.So sad so bad,when will this realy end,innocent young childen lost their lives in such strange ways.We pray for this families ,because this is not easy ,such incidents can change the families lives forever, even if you lost more than 1 child at once.May God be with you in this difficult time....

  • Angela - 2011-08-25 12:24

    if the bus rolled backward, how does it end up nose first in the river?

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