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Driver swerved to avoid donkey

By unknown | Feb 20, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Frank Maponya and Chester Makana

Frank Maponya and Chester Makana

Limpopo is reeling with shock after at least 17 people, including two drivers, died in an accident involving two buses in the province yesterday.

The accident happened as one of the buses was trying to avoid a donkey that was standing in the road near Tshikuwi village between Makhado and Nzhelele, just outside the Hendrik Verwoerd twin tunnels.

The area is a few kilometres from where a minibus carrying 19 Zimbabweans plunged into a ravine two years ago.

Yesterday's accident involved buses from the Enos and Madirimisa bus companies at about 5.30am. The buses were taking commuters to work.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said one of the drivers apparently saw the donkey in the road and tried to avoid it by swerving into the other lane, but collided with the other bus.

Both drivers died at the scene, he said.

Ramatseba said the jaws-of-life had to be used to remove the bodies trapped inside the wreckage.

He said two other passengers were airlifted to the Polokwane Hospital with serious injuries.

Ramatseba said 45 people were rushed to the nearby Siloam Hospital and another three were taken to Makhado Hospital with serious injuries.

"It was really a terrible accident," said Ramatseba.

He said the number of deaths may rise, judging by the severity of the survivors' injuries.

"It was clear the buses were speeding.

"We make a call on public transport drivers not to drive at high speed when carrying people because doing so puts the lives of everyone at risk," he said.

Investigations into the cause of the accident were continuing , he said.

Roads and transport MEC Justice Pitso and executive mayor of Vhembe district, Irene Mutsila, visited the scene.

Pitso said the accident was the first of its kind in the province and acknowledged there was a failure to control stray animals.

Pitso yesterday expressed shock at the incident saying it was tragic to lose so many lives.

His department was touched that lives of valued family members were lost while they were going to work for their families.

"We want to convey our condolences on behalf of the government to families who lost their loved ones and also wish those who were injured a speedy recovery," said Pitso.

He said the province faced a huge challenge in controlling stray animals because wire fences along the roads were so often stolen.


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