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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Six schoolgirls killed, 48 injured in horror bus accident in Free State

The bus accident claimed the lives of six Riebeekstad High School pupils with four critically injured girls still fighting for their lives.

Six pupils were killed and 48 injured when the bus they were travelling in overturned about 30km from Ventersdorp, in the Free State, late Tuesday afternoon. 

The tragic accident occurred while 58 pupils from the Riebeeckstad High School were on their way back to Welkom after attending a sport event in the Moolmanshoek Nature Reserve near Ficksburg and Rosendal. 

Six pupils killed as bus overturns on R70

According to the Department of Basic Education, Senekal police confirmed the bus overturned after a wheel came loose and the driver lost control on the R70 Ventersburg-Senekal road.

Six of the pupils were declared dead on the scene; 40 sustained minor injuries; eight had moderate injuries and four were critically injured, the Free State premier’s office said. 

The scene of the bus accident which claimed the lives of six Riebeeckstad High School pupils late on Tuesday. Photo: Supplied

Injured Riebies girls rushed to hospitals

Free State EMS spokesperson Sipho Towa told Netwerk24 that the injured Riebies girls were rushed to various hospitals in Senekal and Welkom.

The publication reported that it was not yet clear how many staff members of the all-girls school were on the bus and whether any of them were injured.

“This tragedy struck as we are busy celebrating the success of the matric class of 2023. The deaths of those souls has robbed us of the future of our province. Words fail me and I can only imagine what the families are going through,” Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana said in a statement. 

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Shock bus accident rocks Riebeeckstad High School

The school principal Betsi Schoeman shared the news of the accident on the Riebeeckstad High School Facebook page on Tuesday evening:

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‘Not the kind of news a parent should expect’ – Motshekga

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga also released a statement in which she expressed her condolences, adding that this was “not the kind of news a parent should expect when their children go out on a school excursion”.

“We hope that an investigation will shed light on what happened,” Motshekga said.

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