UPDATE | 25 killed, over 60 injured after bus rolls down ravine in Eastern Cape

02 March 2020 - 13:50 By TimesLIVE
More than 60 people were injured and 25 killed after their bus plunged down a ravine on Monday.
More than 60 people were injured and 25 killed after their bus plunged down a ravine on Monday.
Image: 123RF/ Pumidol Leelerdsakulvong

Twenty-five people were killed and more than 60 injured in a bus crash in the Eastern Cape on Monday.

"A sad day for road safety," tweeted the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

Helicopters and ambulances were sent to the scene of the crash, which happened at around 8am on a gravel road in Willowvale. The bus left the road and plunged down a steep embankment.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said: “To lose so many lives in a single accident is devastating and shocking.”

A statement from Mbalula's office said the bus was travelling from Chebe, en route to Butterworth.

"Reports indicate that the driver lost control of the bus, which subsequently rolled down a steep embankment, leaving 25 dead and approximately 62 injured. The root cause of the accident is unknown at this stage.

“I send my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and the community of Centane," said Mbalula.

"We are committed to expediting the RTMC investigation and ensure that it is concluded speedily. We remain committed to strengthening our measures aimed at ensuring safety of our people on the roads.

"This includes regular reviews of procedures to ensure vehicle fitness [and] ensuring that drivers are fit to drive public transport vehicles. We will also continue to ensure that the conditions of our roads, including gravel roads, are maintained in a manner that ensures they are safe to drive on."

ImiNgcangathelo traditional leader Nkosi Phathuxolo Tyali, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene, earlier told DispatchLIVE: “Many people have died and we are busy rescuing others. We have not counted those who have passed away. Our focus is to help those who are injured. This is a tragedy.”

Health department spokesperson Siziwe Kupelo confirmed that helicopters had been sent to the scene.