Welkom - Seven people were killed when a long-distance passenger bus overturned near Welkom on Monday morning, Free State police said.

Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the driver of the Intercape bus, travelling from Durban to Upington via Bloemfontein, lost control of the vehicle before it overturned in the early hours of the morning.

"Seven people died at the scene and the eighth one, alleged to be the bus driver was found hanging from a tree not far from the scene," said Makhele.

"About 45 passengers suffered injuries and were referred to various hospitals in Welkom."

Police have opened an inquest docket into the matter. 

African News Agency/ANA