Pretoria – A tyre burst possibly caused the horrific Limpopo accident between a Toyota SUV and a 22-seater bus in which 17 people were killed on the N1 on Tuesday.
Provincial transport authorities in Limpopo said that the driver of the Toyota SUV apparently lost control of the vehicle due to a burst tyre and collided head-on with the 22-seater bus which burst into flames.
“The preliminary investigations are citing a tyre burst as a possible cause of the accident and investigations are continuing. A case of culpable homicide has been opened,” said Limpopo Transport and Community Safety spokesperson Mike Maringa.
The collision happened on the N1 near Mookgophong off-ramp, and the drivers of both vehicles were killed.
“Seventeen people died in the horrific accident when the bus collided head-on with a Toyota SUV that allegedly had a tyre burst. The names of the people in the bus have now been sourced from the register populated before they left Bosman Station to Polokwane,” said Maringa.
He said their identities were being withheld until their families had been notified.
“Six of the eight people who were admitted at FH Odendaal Hospital have since been checked and discharged,” he said.
The bodies of the deceased were taken to forensic mortuaries in Bela-Bela and Mokopane.
Earlier, Maringa said the 22-seater bus burst into flames with the occupants trapped inside.
“The bus burst into flames and 17 occupants trapped inside, including the driver, were burnt to death. The driver of the SUV was also killed on impact. Eight people survived, six are seriously injured and two escaped with minor injuries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Limpopo Transport and Community Safety MEC Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya has sent messages of condolences to the affected families and wished a speedy recovery to the survivors.
Lerule-Ramakhanya has once again pleaded with motorists to inspect their vehicles before they embark on road trips.
Last month five people were killed and two others critically injured in a head-on collision on the N1 near Middelfontein in Limpopo’s Waterberg District.
Lerule-Ramakhanya was at the scene and confirmed the horrific crash which caused the N1 to be closed between the Kranskop Toll Plaza and Middelfontein.
“It is alleged that a Toyota SUV got a tyre burst and collided head-on with oncoming Mini Cooper and a Hyundai SUV. Four people were killed instantly on impact and the fifth died on the way to the hospital,” said Lerule-Ramakhanya at the time.
“Four of the deceased were in the (Toyota) Avanza and the fifth victim was in the Mini Cooper.”