KZN collision carnage

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Ten migrant mine workers died and 32 were injured when the bus they were travelling in collided with a stationary truck near Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday morning.

The bus was transporting miners from Rustenburg in North West to Umthatha in Eastern Cape when it smashed into the truck. The bus had 70 passengers on board.

It is alleged that the driver fell asleep at the wheel and failed to control his vehicle.

Emergency workers used the jaws of life to free five people trapped in the bus wreckage. The emergency team said 10 of the miners were in a critical condition, while another four had serious injuries.

Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said the accident happened seven kilometres from Estcourt on the north off-ramp of the N3.

He said the emergency rescue team had had their hands full trying to save the lives of the miners.

"Injured people were rushed to the local hospital for medical attention," he said.

Both the driver of the bus and the truck driver survived the accident. Five of the injured remained in a serious condition while others had been discharged, he said.

Provincial spokesman for the Road Traffic Inspectorate Collin Govender said a special team from Pretoria was deployed to investigate the cause of the incident .

"They have gathered information about the accident and have taken samples for analyses to establish the main cause of the accident," Govender said.

"The SAPS were also conducting their own investigation. Once the investigations are completed they will be combined and released soon."

Govender said fatalities had decrease compared with the same time last year.

"Last year we were sitting at 198 but so far this year fatalities are down to 142, including pedestrians, passengers and drivers," Govender said.

He said the bus accident was one of the worst to have been reported in the province over the festive season.