At least three pupils killed as walkway collapses in Vaal

01 February 2019 - 09:31 By Nonkululeko Njilo

Three pupils at a Vanderbijlpark school were killed on Friday when a walkway fell on them.

“A walkway fell on pupils at Hoerskool Driehoek in Vanderbijl this morning. Unfortunately three pupils died on the scene,” said the Gauteng education department’s spokesperson, Steve Mabona.

Paramedic service ER24 confirmed three children were killed and said that approximately 15 others were injured in the structural collapse at the school in Vanderbijlpark.

Four children have been airlifted to hospital.

Netcare 911 said five people are in a critical condition.

Emergency service teams were treating other patients with multiple other injuries ranging from minor to moderate, said Netcare.

At 11am, community members had gathered at the school in a prayer circle.

Russel Meiring from ER24 elaborated to say that when paramedics arrived, they found that "a walkway connecting two buildings had collapsed, trapping several patients".

"Rescue services utilized various rescue tools to free the trapped patients.

"Once completed, paramedics assessed the patients and found that three children, aged between 14 and 17, had sustained numerous fatal injuries. Nothing could be done for them and they were declared dead."

Meiring said approximately 15 other patients were assessed, their injuries ranging from minor to critical. The children were treated for their injuries on the scene.

"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."

A pastor leads community members in prayer
A pastor leads community members in prayer
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo

Speaking earlier on Friday, Mabona, who did not have further details at the time, said the MEC of Education in the province, Panyaza Lesufi, was on his way to the school to establish what had happened.

“The MEC is going there now,” he said.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Getrude Makgale confirmed the incident, but could not provide further details.

“We are at the scene of the accident, we are not able to provide more information at the moment,” she said.

This is a developing story – it will be updated as more details emerge.