'They are like our own children': Teacher shattered by death of three pupils at Driehoek school
Teachers and pupils anticipated an exciting day on Friday, with visitors expected and an inter-school trip for a sports team. Instead, Hoërskool Driehoek was struck by tragedy.
A walkway connecting two buildings at the Vanderbijlpark high school collapsed, killing three pupils and injuring 15.
A teacher described the incident as tragic.
"The incident happened just after assembly ... It was a very exciting morning as we were hosting an athletics meeting for primary schools in the area and our athletics team was meant to travel to Potchesfstroom," said the teacher, who asked not to be named.
The trip was cancelled and instead community members gathered at the school, united in prayer.
"I am shattered. All these kids are like our own," the teacher said.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said rescue services had found patients trapped under the walkway.
Paramedics used various rescue tools to free the trapped patients, he said.
"Once completed, paramedics assessed the patients and found that three children, aged between 14 and 17, had numerous fatal injuries. Nothing could be done for them and they were declared dead.
"About 15 other patients were assessed, their injuries ranging from minor to critical."
Once treated, four children were airlifted to hospital by a private medical helicopter. The remaining patients were transported by ambulance to various facilities in the area, Meiring said.
The reason for the walkway’s collapse was not immediately known, but all relevant authorities were on the scene to investigate.