Eastern Cape crashes: Two mass memorial services planned

2015-09-01 13:51
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Durban – A mass memorial service will be held on Thursday for the 35 people who died in a bus accident in the Eastern Cape on Saturday.

Department of transport spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca said inter-faith structures will meet the families and the community in ward 29, Willowvale, at 11:00.

The 35 people died when the bus in which they were travelling overturned on the R408 between Butterworth and Willowvale on Saturday. The transport department said the bus plunged into a dry river near the Congo Bridge near Nkelekethe Village.

Initially it was reported that 36 people had died but the number changed after the health department said it had counted one child twice. The official death toll is now 35 people - 16 men, 16 women and three children, the youngest of whom was 3 years old.

Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo told News24 on Monday that three people who had been admitted to Frere Hospital had since been referred to Butterworth Hospital as their condition had improved. One person was still in ICU at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha.

On Friday another mass memorial service will be held in Queenstown for 10 people who died in a separate accident on the R61 between Craddock and Graaff-Reinet.

According to statistics provided by the transport department there were a total of 141 deaths on the road at the weekend countrywide. The Eastern Cape recorded the highest number of fatalities with 53 people dying in nine accidents. This was followed by Gauteng, which recorded 29 accidents and 27 dead. In KwaZulu-Natal there were 18 accidents and 17 deaths.

“This is a very difficult period for all of us in the province and we would like to convey our condolences to the affected families and wish those that are still in hospital a speedy recovery," said Eastern Cape Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana.

“We call upon all our drivers to exercise caution at all times. Those who are driving long-distance vehicles must always find time to rest to avoid fatigue, which we suspect [played a role] in some of the accidents that occurred at the weekend.”

The department is talking to families about funeral arrangements.

Read more on:    east london  |  accidents

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