‘Runaway bus was fit and functional’

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Copy of ST sec Bus crash762.JPG THE STAR The scene of the accident in Republic Road, Randburg. Photo: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - The metrobus involved in a collision that killed four people and injured several others was technically and mechanically fit, and its brakes fully functional.

This was according to the bus company, which said on Wednesday night they had undertaken an initial “thorough technical investigation” into Monday’s accident on Republic Road in Randburg.

“The braking system of the bus in question was tested on June 3 this year and everything was found to be in order,” Metrobus said.

On Tuesday, the company said the bus had experienced a mechanical breakdown on the road and the driver - who was driving alone - called the control room seeking assistance at about 4.10pm.

However, due to the traffic congestion in the area at the time the recovery vehicle was unable to reach the scene on time.

This resulted in the driver leaving the bus unattended to seek help at the Roodepoort bus depot.

“According to the bus operator, he engaged the bus braking system at the time he left the bus. At about 4.30pm after the bus operator left the bus, it started rolling down the road unattended for over 900m,” the company said.

The bus hit a pedestrian and a taxi offloading passengers.

On Wednesday, the company also disagreed with reported suggestions that the accident was caused by air getting leaked into the brakes, which, in turn, released pressure and the handbrakes as a result.

“If the air in the brakes is lost, the spring brakes will immediately release and will activate the emergency braking system, which will make the bus come to a halt immediately,” Metrobus stated.

Meanwhile, staff were still in grief and mourning at Mr Spices - a spices and sauce company in Randburg where two of the accident victims worked - said manager Mario Rota.

“We are all very devastated… We’ve had prayers, singing and speeches on Tuesday and a wreath-laying today [Wednesday]. Death is a very private thing. One lady was Muslim and had her funeral today (Wednesday), the other will be buried Saturday,” he said.

Two other employees were also seriously injured and recovering in hospital.

Metrobus said law enforcement agencies were still conducting their own investigations to establish if there was any foul play.

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The Star



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