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Sad scenes at memorial of 14 drowned pupils

HEARTBROKEN: A teacher consoles pupils after a memorial service for 14 pupils who drowned on Wednesday. PHOTO: ESA ALEXANDER
HEARTBROKEN: A teacher consoles pupils after a memorial service for 14 pupils who drowned on Wednesday. PHOTO: ESA ALEXANDER

A PATHOLOGIST has started to conduct autopsies on the bodies of the 14 pupils and their driver, who died in a bus crash in Knysna, Western Cape police said

Captain Malcolm Pojie said the results of the autopsies were not yet known, but all the victims were positively identified by their next of kin.

Their names are Colin Pyle, 65, (the bus driver), Ashwell Davidson, 17, Felicity Fiegeland, 10, Andre Fiegeland, 12, Maurisha Fiegeland, 15, Lugan Mello, 8, Lisa Mello, 9, Antonio Mello, 6, Michael Sass, 9, Cheswin Freiburg, 15, Rayleen Wessels, 11, Marco Kiewiets, 11, Jorina Kiewiets, 7, Marushaan Meyer, 13, and Octavia Williams, 14.

"Forensic experts arrived from Cape Town and reconstructed the accident scene today in an attempt to investigate the possible cause of this tragedy," Pojie said yesterday.

Knysna executive mayor said yesterday morning that the driver of the 32-seater bus had allegedly tried to transport 58 schoolchildren from Rheenendal Primary School in one trip instead of two.

"I believe the driver was supposed to fetch the first lot of children and then return to fetch the rest," she told the media.

The children and the bus driver died when he lost control of the vehicle on a low bridge and it plunged into a dam on Wednesday.

A total of 44 children were injured, and were taken to Knysna Provincial Hospital with back and neck injuries, and mild hypothermia. They had all been discharged by yesterday.

Western Cape education department is investigating why the bus was overloaded, according to MEC Donald Grant.

Western Cape Provincial Community Police Board pleaded with authorities to "act decisively" to prevent another accident from happening.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union said the Road Transport Management Cooperation had to employ more traffic officers to ensure roads were made safer.

President Jacob Zuma sent his condolences to the parents of the children on Wednesday night.

A memorial was held for the children at Rheenendal Primary School yesterday morning.

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