FIVE pupils cheated death when a minibus taxi transporting them to school collided with another on the R33 road outside Copesville in the Natal Midlands yesterday morning.

Paramedics used jaws of life to rescue the nine people, including six pupils who were trapped in the vehicles.

Both vehicles were severely damaged on their front passenger sides.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said when paramedics arrived on the scene they found one taxi down an embankment and another on the road.

"There were three occupants in the taxi that was down the embankment. They had sustained possible neck and back injuries," he said.

Banks said the taxi on the road had six occupants, including five pupils.

"Jaws of life were used to extricate them from the vehicle. They suffered serious injuries and needed advanced life support intervention before they could be moved from the vehicle," said Banks.

He said all passengers were stabilised on the scene and transported to Pietermaritzburg Medi-Clinic and other surrounding hospitals for further medical care.

"It is unclear who was at fault but the relevant authorities were on the scene. The police are investigating the cause of the accident," he said.

KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said two minibuses collided.

She said the pupils were being transported to Wartburg School.

"One of the minibuses failed to stop on the stop street and collided with another one," said Mngomezulu.

"The taxi veered for three metres down the embankment.

"Injured children were under the age of 10 and were rushed to hospital for treatment. And the driver was also injured."