45 dead as bus plunges from bridge into ravine in South Africa | South Africa

An eight-year old child was the sole survivor after a bus carrying 46 people plunged off a bridge in South Africa, fell into a ravine and caught fire.

The child, who has not been named, was taken to hospital with serious injuries, the transport ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

The vehicle had been heading from neighbouring Botswana to Moria in the north of the country.

“It is alleged that the driver lost control, colliding with barriers on the bridge causing the bus to go over the bridge and hitting the ground, where it caught fire,” the statement said.

Rescue operations had continued till late, with some bodies burned beyond recognition, and others trapped inside the debris or scattered over the crash scene.

The bus had a Botswana licence plate, local authorities said, but the nationalities of the passengers were still being checked.

The transport minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, went to the scene of the crash and promised a full inquiry would be held into its cause.

While South Africa has one of the African continent’s most developed road networks, it also suffers from one of the worst safety records.

Just hours before the crash, the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, appealed to South Africans to take care when travelling during the Easter week.

“Let’s do our best to make this a safe Easter. Easter does not have to be a time where we sit back and wait to see statistics on tragedy or injuries on our roads,” he said in a statement.

The bus fell from a major bridge linking two hillsides near Mmamatlakala in Limpopo province, around 190 miles (300km) north of Johannesburg.

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