Picture: Netcare 911/Supplied.

Vanderbijlpark - As Vanderbijlpark residents reel from a deadly structural collapse that occurred at a high school in the area, the Gauteng Department of Education has confirmed that three pupils were killed and 23 others left injured.

The incident occurred on Friday morning at Hoërskool Driehoek when a walkway collapsed apparently as pupils were leaving assembly, leaving several children trapped. 

The department and paramedic services all confirmed that three people were killed, with MEC Panyaza Lesufi confirming that 23 sustained various injuries.

"We received information that a walkway connecting the admin block and the classes fell on pupils who were walking to class immediately after assembly. 

"We can now officially confirm that 26 pupils were affected. Of the 26 pupils, three are deceased and of the three deceased, two are males and one is a female. So far, we've managed to identify one deceased pupil." 

Lesufi explained that of the 23 affected, two were checked and released to their parents while 21 were transported to various hospitals for further treatment. 

The MEC confirmed that the school would remain closed until clearance had been received from the relevant departments. 

"It's now a crime scene... the investigators are already there and taken statements," he said. 

The MEC also thanked the various stakeholders for assisting in the wake of the incident. 

IOL