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South Africa bus crash kills 45 Batswana worshippers

The bus crashed off the bridge

The bus crashed off the bridge

A bus carrying worshippers on a long-distance trip from Botswana to an Easter weekend church gathering in South Africa plunged off a bridge on a mountain pass Thursday and burst into flames as it hit the rocky ground below, killing at least 45 people, authorities said.

The only survivor was an 8-year-old child who was receiving medical attention for serious injuries. The Limpopo provincial government said the bus veered off the Mmamatlakala bridge in northern South Africa and plunged 50 meters (164 feet) into a ravine before bursting into flames.

Search operations were ongoing, the provincial government said, but many bodies were burned beyond recognition and trapped inside the vehicle, while others had been thrown from the bus. The crash happened near the town of Mokopane, which is about 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the South African capital, Pretoria.

Hours after the crash, smoke seeped from the mangled, burned wreck underneath the concrete bridge. Authorities said it appeared that the driver lost control and the bus ploughed into the barriers along the side of the bridge and then over the edge. The driver was one of the dead.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the victims appeared to be all from Botswana and had been on their way to the town of Moria in Limpopo for a popular Easter weekend pilgrimage that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers from South Africa and neighbouring countries who follow the Zion Christian Church.

Ramaphosa had phoned Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi to offer his condolences and said the South African government would do all it can to help, according to a statement from Ramaphosa's office.

Provincial authorities said the bus had a Botswana license plate. South African Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga was in Limpopo province for a road safety campaign and changed plans to visit the crash scene after hearing the "devastating news," the national Department of Transport said. She said there was an investigation underway into the cause of the crash and offered her condolences to the families of the victims.

The South African government often warns motorists to be cautious during the Easter holidays, which is a particularly busy and dangerous time for road travel. More than 200 people died in road crashes during the Easter weekend last year.

Just a day before the bus crash, the South African government called on people to be extra careful on Thursday and Friday because of the expected high volumes travelling by road to Moria.

The Zion Christian Church has its headquarters in Moria and this year is the first time its Easter pilgrimage is set to go ahead since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.


0 #1 kabayekka 2024-04-02 11:06
It is very unfortunate indeed for so many worshippers to die at once. God bless the 8 year old who seems to have survived!

However, when one reads the reference of this Zion Christian Church it remains one of the greatest African Independent Churchs that appeals to the African way of healing the sick and that upholds sermons that are African-centred.

Such African worshiping seems to provide an excuse to the current African leadership not to improve on the medical treatment facilities available all over the world and to provide universal social welfare to African communities.

It is normal in African societies to find handicapped people some with terrible medical conditions begging for cash or anything on the streets of many African countries.
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0 #2 kabayekka 2024-04-02 11:14
It wants to look like these determined healing churches cannot heal these humans.

The thousands of Ministries of Health all over the African continent cannot touch them and therefore they end up condemned as a disgrace to modern life style living!

It is indeed a shame to the rich of this world where as the Bible describes Lazarus who used to eat the crumbs off the tables of the rich diners. Until in heaven he was seen in the arms of God as the rich people were downstairs suffering hell!
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