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Six girl learners killed, dozens injured in Free State horror school bus crash outside Ventersburg

Six girl learners killed, dozens injured in Free State horror school bus crash outside Ventersburg
The school transport bus which was carrying 58 pupils from Riebeeckstad High School lies on its roof by the side of the R70 near Ventersburg, Free State. (Photo: Supplied)

Six pupils died and 48 others were injured when the school bus they were travelling in overturned outside Ventersburg, Free State on Tuesday afternoon. 

A group of 58 pupils from Riebeeckstad High School in Welkom were returning from an outdoor sports event in the Moolmanshoek Nature Reserve near Ficksburg and Rosendal when tragedy struck.

It is believed that the driver of the bus transporting the schoolgirls lost control when a wheel loosened, causing the bus to overturn along the R70.

According to the Free State provincial government, six pupils were confirmed dead on the scene and four others suffered critical injuries. Eight pupils sustained moderate injuries and 40 suffered minor injuries.

Free State bus crash

Passengers’ belongings strewn on the ground after the bus was righted in the aftermath of the Free State bus crash which killed six pupils. (Photo: Supplied)

The injured pupils were transported to various hospitals in Welkom, Virginia and Senekal.

Free State Emergency Services said 24 patients were admitted to Bongani Hospital, with 22 later discharged. One patient was transferred to Welkom Medi clinic, while one remains at Bongani Hospital with serious but stable injuries.

A further 17 pupils were admitted to Medi Clinic in Welkom, where 15 were later discharged and two remained admitted.

Itemoheng Hospital in Senekal admitted four pupils, two of whom were transferred to Dihlabeng Hospital. The other two were later discharged.

The emergency services said the death toll remained at six, subject to further verification.

“For parents who are seeking information about their children, we urge you to go to Bongani Hospital and Medi Clinic where arrangements have been made to provide updates and support or call the grade head,” Riebeeckstad High School announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Free State bus crash

Emergency services attend to the scene of the Free State bus crash bus near Ventersburg, Free State. (Photo: Supplied)

Read more in Daily Maverick: Sixth child dies six weeks after horrific Mitchells Plain scholar transport crash

On Wednesday morning, MEC for Education in the Free State Makalo Mohale said that his department was monitoring the progress of those admitted to hospital.

Mohale also disclosed that the bus was not rented but belonged to the school. Investigations were yet to reveal the cause of the accident, and also other essential details regarding the crash. “Currently, we are just aware that it lost its wheel and overturned. That’s all we know,” Mohale said.

“Police are investigating culpable homicide and it’s still too early to hold anyone liable until it has proven as such by the outcome of investigations,” Free State Saps’ Brigadier Motantsi Mokhele told Daily Maverick on Wednesday afternoon. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jan Vos says:

    Really a sad day.

    But doesn’t “girl learners” sound stupid? What on Earth are “girl learners?” Are these boys learning to be girls? Or girls learning to be girls? Or leaners who want to be girls? The mind boggels.

    What happened to the good old “school girls?”

    • Graeme J says:

      I agree. Very sad.

      What happened to “pupil”? Why must they be “learners”.

      OED definition of pupil, “a person who is taught by another, especially a schoolchild or student in relation to a teacher”.

    • Fiona Wallace says:

      And THIS is your takeaway from this article? Your personal upset at the use of a descriptor was so important that you needed to say so right now? You are right: the mind “boggels”.

  • japiefourie says:

    I grew up in Ventersburg and recently visited people in the area again. Like most rural roads in the Free State, the R70 literally has more pot holes than actual tarred road. Even the section for veld next to the supposedly tarred road has pot holes. As such, I would be astounded if the poor road quality is not at least partially at blame here.

  • Pierre Strydom says:

    Operating bus services is a specialised field and schools should not be allowed to operate and own buses.

  • P C Hem says:

    Very sad for these young girls to pass away when their life is just beginning. Prayers to their families and also for the injured to make a full recovery.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Surely the bus driver would have felt the wobbling due to a loose wheel….or maybe not given the state of the road!

  • My most deepest and most sincere
    Condolences with all involved.

  • charleslechef says:

    Please can we pray over the following sad news “Six girl learners killed, dozens injured in Free State horror school bus crash outside Ventersburg”.
    We pray Heavenly Father for strength and comfort for the parents and families of those who lost loved ones in this horrific accident and we pray Lord for Your Healing Hands upon the injured as You are the Master Physician and Healer and strength for the worried parents and families.
    We pray in Jesus Mighty Name.

  • gkagiso says:

    Good was calling.May their souls rest in peace

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