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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Tragic start to long weekend as 11 die, 13 hurt in Good Friday crash between bus, minibus

THE bus lying on its side as a result of the collision. SUPPLIED

THE bus lying on its side as a result of the collision. SUPPLIED

Published Apr 16, 2022


Cape Town - EASTER Weekend began on a tragic note when 11 people lost their lives and 13 were injured along the N1 between Leeu Gamka and Beaufort West on Good Friday during a collision between a minibus and a bus.

THE crushed minibus. SUPPLIED

Grim images of the accident scene showed the minibus crushed, barely recognisable while the bus, owned by Wezwe Coaches, lay on its side.

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Authorities have confirmed that 11 people had died and 13 were injured.

Elsewhere, three pedestrians, two passengers and a driver also died in separate accidents on Cape roads. A head-on collision between to vehicles also took place on the R43 between Stanford and Hermanus. No fatalities were reported.

The name of the bus company was still visible on the wreckage and luggage and suitcases lay strewn on the ground while shocked passengers who managed to survive, stood alongside their belongings on the side of the road.

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Investigators at the scene believe the cause of the accident was that the minibus had had a flat tyre and that the bus drove into it while it was being attended to.

It is believed the minibus left the Western Cape for an Eastern Cape destination while the bus was apparently travelling from Beaufort West towards Cape Town.

Last year, authorities confirmed that the death toll for the Easter Weekend had decreased to 25 compared to 38 in 2019.

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Jandré Bakker, head of communication, Department of Transport and Public Works, confirmed the accident. “The Department of Transport and Public Works can confirm a fatal crash on the N1 between Leeu Gamka and Beaufort West.”

Daylin Mitchell, provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works, expressed condolences to the families of those lost in the fatal accident and said an investigation into the cause of the tragedy was under way.

“Preliminary reports indicate that 11 people died and 13 were injured in this crash around 5am on Good Friday.

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“The crash involved a minibus and bus. The road is open to traffic. The exact cause of the crash is being investigated but indications are that the minibus had had a flat tyre and that the bus then drove into (it).

“My sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the crash and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”

He urged road users and motorists to be very careful over the weekend as the numbers continue to climb.

“We urge road users to be extra vigilant this long weekend,” he said. He added: “I am travelling across the province to join operations and to assist our teams in the field to keep fatalities to a minimum, but we cannot do it alone. We need every road user’s support.

“Other fatalities thus far include three pedestrians, two passengers and a driver.

“It is disheartening that despite the hard work our officers and road safety management teams are doing that we have to start what should be a time of peace and reflection, in such a way,” said Mitchell.

He reminded road users that driving in the emergency lane (also known as the yellow lane or shoulder) is prohibited between dusk and dawn, as well as in instances where visibility is less than 150 metres, such as in inclement weather like rain, mist and fog or even smoke.

He also asked that motorists ensure their vehicle has a warning triangle which can be used to warn other road users should their vehicle break down or they have stopped to replace a flat tyre.

Weekend Argus also attempted to reach management of the bus company but to no avail.

One person who claimed to belong to the company later did not respond to queries.

With the strategic safety plans and operations in place with provincial traffic teams, Premier Alan Winde said various strategies would be used to save lives and encourage people to be safe on the roads.

“To promote the safety of those in our province over this long weekend, the Western Cape Government has ensured that all emergency services in the province work together with the Provincial Health Department’s Emergency Medical Services and Rescue Services to identify high-risk areas and plan combined responses to these areas.

“It is important that we take every measure to promote safety on our roads over this period. Doing so will ensure that we reduce pressure on our healthcare system and save lives. It will make this long weekend all the more enjoyable, encouraging visitors to return to our beautiful province once again.”

Weekend Argus