Putco to probe cause of crash

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Copy of meyerton putco bus INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The Putco bus involved in the accident near Meyerton had failed an inspection test on June 12. Photo: Antoine de Ras

Johannesburg -

Putco on Friday promised to “scrupulously” investigate reports that the bus involved in a crash that killed 19 people was unroadworthy.

“The board of directors of Putco undertakes to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and to ensure that such investigations are conducted transparently, fairly and objectively,” said spokesman Raphiri Matsaneng in a statement.

“Putco will scrupulously investigate this... with all roleplayers to determine whether its standpoint that the vehicle had passed the required test on 14 June is factually correct or not.”

Putco responded after conflicting roadworthy test outcomes were released by the Sedibeng municipality earlier. A preliminary investigation showed that the bus failed a roadworthiness test but passed another.

“That bus was pulled off the road on the 12th of June by a traffic officer, who sent it for testing at the Meyerton testing station Ä and it failed,” municipal spokesman Dan Manoeli said.

“It failed due to a faulty braking system... Two days ago that same bus passed a roadworthy test at the Putco private vehicle testing station. How did that happen? It is very weird Ä by us it failed, by them it passed.”

Matsaneng said it was too early to make a judgement.

“It is imprudent, at this early stage without scientific and empirical data, to make any final verdict.”

Putco said it was deeply saddened by the tragedy, and would co-operate with authorities and make its findings available to the public.

On Monday morning, a bus driver lost control of the vehicle on the R59 which crashed through a bridge railing in Meyerton in the Vaal Triangle before plummeting ten metres to the ground. It landed on its side.

Fifty-five people were injured, three of them critically. The bus driver was among those killed.

The Star reported that the bus was among eight Putco buses taken off the road after it failed the June 12 roadworthy test at the Meyerton testing station.

Meanwhile, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on Friday said the preliminary report on the cause of the accident was not ready.

“Investigations are ongoing and therefore the report would not be released today, as initially thought,” spokesman Ashref Ismail said.

“We need to investigate not only the crash but the contradictory reports regarding the roadworthy tests conducted. We need to be clear about the dates and the outcomes...”

The report was expected to be completed next week, when it would be handed over to the minister of transport. - Sapa


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