Twenty-five people were killed Monday when a bus rolled down a steep embankment in South Africa’s coastal Eastern Cape province, the country’s transport minister said.
“Reports indicate that the driver lost control of the bus, which subsequently rolled down a steep embankment, leaving 25 dead and approximately 62 injured,” Fikile Mbalula said in a statement.
“To lose so many lives in a single accident is devastating and shocking.”
The bus was carrying over 80 mainly elderly people to the town centre in Butterworth, the provincial transport department spokesman, Unathi Binqose, said.
It was travelling on a gravel road when it overturned, AFP writes.
“The driver lost control of the vehicle and it rolled down a very steep embankment,” Binqose said, adding that the driver figured among the dead.
The crash was the deadliest accident in the province since 2015 when 35 people lost their lives.
Binqose said checks would be carried out if the bus had been roadworthy as “it may be a contributing factor”.
Despite having one of the most developed road networks on the continent, South Africa has among the highest rates of road accidents in the region owing to speeding and poor maintenance of some vehicles and roads.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) data shows over 14,000 people died in road crashes on South African roads in 2017.