Bloemfontein – The death toll in a bus accident in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State involving SA National Defence Force personnel on Friday has climbed to 11, the Free State Department of Police, Road and Transport said.
“We learnt that a bus driver lost control of the bus when he failed to apply brakes at a bend. Nine ladies died and then later two in hospital,” said department spokeswoman Hillary Mophethe. Mophete confirmed a total of 42 people were on the bus – 40 women and two men – all believed to be military officials.
“They were on their way to the Basotho Cultural activity centre,” she said.
Mophethe said they were trying to confirm whether the bus was on its way to a women’s month event. According to paramedics on the scene, the bus rolled down an embankment.
Earlier, the head of the province’s emergency medical services, Reuben Ruiters, told the African News Agency (ANA) that nine of the officials died on the scene while another nine had been taken to hospital in a critical condition.
“We responded with eight ambulances and three rescue vehicles. The injured were taken to the Bethlehem Medi-Clinic and the Bethlehem provincial hospital,” said Ruiters. Police were on the scene investigating.
Mophethe confirmed a culpable homicide docket had been opened.