Some 20 schoolchildren and two adults on board a minibus taxi were killed on Friday, when their vehicle collided head-on with a truck on a highway between Verena and Bronkhorstpruit towns in Gauteng Province, an emergency service official has said.
The taxi burst into flames, and most of the children who died were trapped inside the burning flames, according to Emergency Rescue 24 spokesperson, Russel Meiring, whose officials attended to the accident on Friday.
He said fire services arrived on the scene of the accident and managed to extinguish the burning vehicle, which was found lying on its side after the collision.
“Unfortunately, nothing could be done for the children and they were declared dead on the scene,” Meiring said.
Several injured children were found at the scene. It is believed these children had been pulled out of the taxi by members of the community before flames engulfed the taxi.
Gauteng Province’s Education Minister Panyaza Lesufi confirmed that the seven survivors were taken to hospital, with two of them reported to be in critical condition.
The cause of the collision has not officially been declared, but it appears as though the over-speeding taxi miscalculated a turn and crashed into the truck outside the town of Bronkhorstpruit, north of the capital Pretoria.
“It’s quite clear from the scene that some of the bodies will need special DNA tests for them to be identified because of the nature of the accident,” Lesufi said.
The government would assist with funeral arrangements and provide counselling and support to the affected families, he added.