Knysna : A bus has plunged off a low bridge into a river that flooded during the night.
At approximately 09h00 on Wednesday 24th August 2011 The SA Police Services, a Police Dive Unit, Metro EMS ambulances, Metro EMS rescue squads, the Metro EMS Red Cross AMS helicopter, NSRI Knysna rescue swimmers, Knysna Fire and Rescue Services, Eden Disaster Management, Private Ambulance Services and the Forensic Pathology Services all responded to the scene.
Fourty two Children have been transported to Knysna Provincial hospital with minor injuries and are suffering from shock.
Fifteen children and the bus driver, died and their bodies have been handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
The bus will be removed from the river and the search will continue for any further missing passengers.
Sea Rescue expresses our sincere condolences to the families of those involved in this disaster.
All media communications pertaining to this incident are referred to Captain Malcolm Pojie – SA Police Services Communications – Southern Cape – 0825594665
Below is the SAPS Media release in full:
SAPS Media Centre, Southern Cape Tel: (044) 803 4427, 082 559 4665
Immediate Media Release
Date: Wednesday, 24 August 2011
CULPABLE HOMICIDE OPEN IN KNYSNA
A Case of Culpable Homicide is being investigated by the Knysna Police Service following an incident where 15 people were killed during an incident on the Rheenendal road at “Kasat se drif” at approximately 08:00 this morning, Wednesday 24 August 2011.
Information available reveals that a 33-seater bus that was transporting school children to the Rheenendal Primary School plunged into the river after the driver apparently lost control over the vehicle.
Upon arrival on the scene some children were already rescued from the bus which cabin was partially submerged under the water.
We can confirm that 15 people died in this incident which includes 14 learners as well as the driver of the bus. Preliminary investigation indicates that 44 kids have been treated for minor injuries and shock at the Knysna Provincial Hospital.
A list that indicates the amount of 60 children that should have been transported was received from the Rheenendal Primary School. With further investigation it was found that 2 kids never boarded the bus and was safe at home.
Metro Emergency Services, ER24, NSRI rescue swimmers and Police divers retrieved the bodies from the submerged vehicle. The divers screened the river where after the search was call off as no other bodies were found or spotted in the river. All the children on list were also accounted for.
The names of all the deceased will only be released by tomorrow as the next of kin still need to be informed of the death of their loved ones.
Autopsies will be conducted on the bodies during the cause of the week to determine the possible cause of death. We further more awaiting the arrival of forensic experts from Cape Town to investigate the vehicle as well as the possible cause of the incident.
Investigation into this matter continues.
Capt. Malcolm Pojie
SAPS MEDIA CENTRE
(Southern Cape Office)
PROVINCIAL CORPORATE COMMUNICATION
MOBILE: 082 559 4665
TEL: (044) 803 4427 – FAX: (044) 803 4425