12 school children killed, 7 injured in South Africa minibus crash

12 school children killed, 7 injured in South Africa minibus crash

Minibus transporting school children was reportedly hit by pickup truck from behind and it overturned and caught fire, say officials

By Hassan Isilow

Twelve South African school children and their minibus driver died Wednesday morning in a traffic accident, officials in the Gauteng province said in a statement.

The minibus transporting primary school students in Kokosi-Wedela in the Merafong Local Municipality was hit from behind by a pickup truck, causing it to overturn and catch fire, also injuring seven students, education officials said.

"Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding this horrific accident," the statement said.

The accident happened at around 6.45 a.m. local time (0545GMT), a rush hour for school and work commuters.

The accident claimed the life of 11 pupils from Rockland Primary School and one pupil from Laerskool Blyvooruitsig and their driver.

The Education Department said it dispatched its psycho-social support team to the school to provide immediate support and to work closely with the school and affected families.

“The loss of our children is a devastating blow to our community, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured learners,” said Gauteng Education Minister Matome Chiloane.

Minibus taxis are the main mode of transport in South Africa, transporting millions of people to work, schools, provinces, towns, and even across borders daily.

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