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A bus fell off a bridge in South Africa, resulting in the deaths of 45 individuals. The sole survivor is an 8-year-old

Authorities report that a bus carrying worshippers on its way to an Easter weekend church gathering fell off a bridge on a mountain pass in South Africa and caught fire, resulting in the deaths of at least 45 individuals. The

By GERALD IMRAY (Associated Press)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A bus transporting worshippers from Botswana to a church gathering in South Africa for the Easter weekend crashed off a bridge on a mountain pass Thursday. It caught fire upon hitting the rocky ground below, leading to the deaths of at least 45 people. Authorities mentioned that an 8-year-old child is the only survivor and is receiving medical attention due to serious injuries.

According to the Limpopo provincial government, the bus went off the Mmamatlakala bridge in northern South Africa and plunged 50 meters (164 feet) into a ravine before bursting into flames.

The provincial government reported that search operations were ongoing after the bus crash, but many bodies were burned beyond recognition and trapped inside the vehicle. Some individuals had been thrown from the bus as well.

The accident happened near the town of Mokopane, which is approximately 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the South African capital, Pretoria.

Following the crash, smoke was seen coming from the twisted, burned wreckage below the concrete bridge. Authorities stated that it seemed the driver lost control, causing the bus to collide with the barriers along the side of the bridge and then fall over the edge. The driver was among those who passed away.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned that all the victims appeared to be from Botswana and were en route to the town of Moria in Limpopo for a well-known Easter weekend pilgrimage that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers from South Africa and nearby countries who follow the Zion Christian Church.

Ramaphosa reached out to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi to express his condolences and stated that the South African government would provide assistance, according to a statement from Ramaphosa’s office.

Provincial authorities indicated that the bus had a Botswana license plate.

South African Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga was in Limpopo province for a road safety campaign and altered her plans to visit the crash site upon hearing the “devastating news,” the national Department of Transport mentioned. She mentioned that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the crash and extended her condolences to the families of the victims.

The South African government frequently advises drivers to be careful during the Easter holidays, as it is a particularly busy and perilous time for road travel. Over 200 individuals died in road accidents during the Easter weekend last year.

Just a day before the bus crash, the South African government alerted people to be extra cautious on Thursday and Friday due to the anticipated high volumes of travelers by road to Moria.

The Zion Christian Church is headquartered in Moria, and this year marks the first Easter pilgrimage since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AP Africa news: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

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