The bus that was involved in a horror accident in South Africa’s Western Cape province earlier this week that left 24 people dead had multiple problems with certifications of roadworthiness, according to the results of a preliminary investigation.
The Western Cape MEC for Transport, Robin Carlisle, told reporters from the Cape Argus newspaper that a preliminary investigation into the bus that was involved in the accident showed that the bus’s certificate of roadworthiness had not been renewed, as was required by law. In addition, the operating license for the bus was apparently issued on December 25th, Christmas Day, on which the provincial licensing authority’s office would have been closed.
This anomaly requires further investigation, says Carlisle. Finally, Carlisle also announced that the previous roadworthy certificate, that was expired at the time of the accident, had been issues by a testing station that has since been closed for fraud. The bus was therefore not roadworthy at the time of the accident.
24 people were killed in the horrific accident, one of the worst traffic accidents in South African history. The double decker bus smashed into a rocky hill side in the Hex River Valley in the Western Cape province of South Africa on Friday morning near De Doorns, some 200 kilometres outside of Cape Town. It appears that the brakes of the bus failed, causing the driver to lose control while traversing a steep and winding mountain pass. Two of the fatalities in the accident were children. The bus driver was also killed in the incident.
The family members of the deceased are expected to identify the bodies today. Autopsies on the bodies are currently being carried out at the Salt River Forensic Mortuary in Cape Town.
In addition to the fatalities, eight passengers were critically injured, 14 were seriously injured and 44 sustained minor injuries, said the Western Cape provincial health department spokesperson, Faiza Steyn.
The bus was operated by charter bus company Atlantic Charters and Tours. Lawyers for the company have responded to media requests for a statement, saying that the company will not comment until after the investigation into the accident is complete and the findings have been released.
Atlantic Charters and Tours attorney, Shahied Schreuder, did however state that this accident was the first major accident for the bus company in its 20 years of operations in South Africa. He also stated that the driver was highly experienced and had an excellent safety record with the company.