Caption: A fully loaded Putco bus came came off the R59 just before 8am this morning and crashed into a dry stream. At mid morning about 20 passengers were still trapped within as emergency workers slowly cut open the bus. Picture.

At least 19 people were killed on Monday morning when a Putco bus plummeted off a bridge in Meyerton in the Vaal Triangle, paramedics said.

ER24 spokeswoman Vanessa Jackson said the bus was carrying about 70 people of “working age”.

“Our figure is a preliminary one at this stage, as emergency personnel are still working on the scene,” she said.

Before 1pm, she said emergency personnel were lifting the bus to check if there were any other people stuck in the wreckage.

“At this stage, it's not clear how many people were in the bus. When this scene has been cleared I can be in a position to give you actual figures of the patient count,” she said.

Jackson said the injured were rushed to different hospitals in the greater Vaal region, while the critically injured were airlifted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The driver apparently lost control of the vehicle, which hit the rails of the bridge then plummeted 10 metres to the ground, landing on its side. - Sapa