7 dead, more than 50 injured after bus veers off cliff at Long Tom Pass in Mpumalanga
Community safety MEC said it is suspected that the bus overturned when the driver lost control.
The bus lost control and veered off the road on the Long Tom Pass in Mpumalanga on 8 December 2023. Picture: Chelsea Pieterse/Lowvelder
At least seven people have lost their lives and 52 were left injured when a bus veered off the road on the Long Tom Pass in Mpumalanga on Friday evening.
Luxury bus plunged down side of mountain
The bus plunged off a cliff on the mountain pass on the R37 road between Lydenburg and Sabie.
“On arrival on scene, a luxury 60-seater bus was found to have careened off the roadway and down the cliff side of the mountain pass,” said Emer-G-Med, whose paramedics responded to the scene of the accident.
The paramedics established a triage area at the scene.
“Specialist rescue personnel descended to the wreckage and the injured were brought back up to the roadside,” said Emer-G-Med.
“Three people were found to be in a critical condition and were airlifted by the Netcare911 aeromedical helicopter to specialist facilities for further care.”
WATCH: Scene of horror bus crash at Long Tom Pass
@lowvelder LONG TOM PASS ACCIDENT UPDATE: Lowvelder is on the scene. According to Emer-G-Med's Martin Jeffrey, there are 53 injured persons. Six deaths have been confirmed. Sarza is on the scene. Van Wettens will be moving in with a rig to recover the bus. This will then determine if there are more dead or injured. The road is still closed and motorists are advised to use alternative routes. Lowvelder will update its readers once more information becomes available. #Buscrash #caraccident #longtompass #accident #rescue ♬ original sound – Lowveld Media
Speaking to The Citizen’s sister publication The Lowvelder, Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison spokesperson Moeti Mmusi said the bus is suspected to have lost control and overturned.
He said all the deceased were passengers.
“The driver is among the 52 people who sustained injuries and had to be transported to nearby hospitals. The cause of this major accident is now a subject of investigation by various stakeholders, and some of these are currently at the scene,” said Mmusi.
Emer-G-Med said the injuries ranged from minor to critical.
Vusi Shongwe, the MEC for the Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, called for motorists to be cautious as the festive season begins.
“We are concerned about the number of fatalities that the province recorded so far from the crashes since last week. We continue to make a clarion call to motorists to be extremely vigilant amid rising traffic volumes. They should be patient and plan their trips accordingly,” he said.
One dead in another Mpumalanga accident
Emer-G-Med paramedics responded to the scene of a separate car crash in Mpumalanga on Thursday night.
The driver of a SUV died in a high-speed crash on the R40 in the Nelspruit area.
“On arrival on scene a SUV was found to have crashed into a stationary vehicle at high speed before overturning.
“The driver of the SUV was found to have sustained fatal injuries and was declared dead on arrival of paramedics,” Emer-G-Med said.