UPDATE: 25 killed, 61 injured in horror Eastern Cape bus crash

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A total of 25 people were killed and 61 injured in a bus accident in the Eastern Cape on Monday, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has said.

The bus was travelling on a gravel road near the Tafalofefe Hospital on Monday morning around 08:00 when it overturned, said RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane.

"The Marcopolo bus was travelling from Chebe, picking passengers at locations along the road to Butterworth," he said.

While the exact cause of the crash was not known, Zwane said the driver reportedly lost control of the bus in the bushes down a steep area.

Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said they had dispatched two helicopters and ambulances after hearing about the accident between Mazeppa Bay and Cebe.

(Supplied by RTMC)

A bus that overturned in the Eastern Cape (supplied by RTMC)

"Because of the terrain where the accident happened, our helicopters cannot land. Our ambulances are on the ground while others are on their way to the scene of the accident."

First responders reported spotting at least 10 bodies which appeared to have been thrown from the bus when it rolled.

"We have instructed hospitals in Mthatha and East London to keep beds unoccupied in anticipation that those who might be injured will be transferred there. As soon as the search and rescue mission has been completed, we will keep people informed as to where they should go to see their loved ones."

The first passenger to be airlifted to East London was a critically injured three-year-old boy.

This story has been updated to reflect an increase in the death toll from 21 to 25 people.

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