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HORROR CRASH

Limpopo Easter bus tragedy victims identified and set for Botswana repatriation

Limpopo Easter bus tragedy victims identified and set for Botswana repatriation
The bus carrying Easter pilgrims to Moria, Limpopo, plunged about 100m down this bridge at Mmamatlakala Pass, killing 45 people, including the driver. (Photo: Photo: Lucas Ledwaba)

Last month, 45 people on an Easter pilgrimage were tragically killed when a bus transporting them from Botswana to Moria, South Africa, crashed in Limpopo. The bodies of 42 of the victims have now been identified.

Forty-two victims of a bus crash in Limpopo last month have been identified and authorities are moving towards repatriating their bodies to Botswana.

The incident, involving the bus plunging off a bridge along the Mmamatlakala Pass, happened on 28 March 2024, three days before Easter.

Daily Maverick previously reported that it appeared that the driver may have missed a turn-off, with this resulting in the bus ending up along the pass.

A total of 45 people from Botswana who were on an Easter pilgrimage, were killed in the crash, while an eight-year-old girl was the only survivor.

She has since returned home to Botswana.

On Friday, 19 April 2024, Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba’s office issued an update on the recovery operations relating to the crash.

The statement said a multidisciplinary team was coordinating the process to have all the victims identified.

“So far 42 human remains… have been positively identified through the DNA processes.”

On Monday, 22 April, members of the multidisciplinary team were expected to meet at the Mokopane Hospital in Limpopo, where they would finalise plans to prepare the bodies for repatriation.

Sensitive situation

Ramathuba said: “We are short of words to appreciate our team for the professionalism and speed at which they managed to handle this disaster, appreciating its sensitivity. 

“We are looking forward to meeting the team on Monday… where further updates on the way forward will be provided. 

“The team is currently finalising the analysis of the remaining samples.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Botswana pilgrims’ families wait in agony after Limpopo bus tragedy that killed 45

A day after the crash, the South African Police Service had confirmed that all the passengers, and the surviving girl, were from Botswana.

“According to the passenger bus list from the owner, who is also a Botswana citizen, there were 31 females and 15 males onboard the 45-passenger seater taxi,” a police statement said.

“All passengers were from a village called Molepolole, near Gaborone.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the scene of the crash about a week ago.

“President Ramaphosa conveyed condolences on behalf of the government of South Africa to Botswana, following the tragic accident of a bus transporting Easter pilgrims to Moria,” a South African government statement said. DM

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