Mass funeral for Hex River bus crash victims

Mourners have gathered at the Mandela Park Stadium to bid their loved ones farewell.

At least 24 people died in a bus accident at the Hex River Pass on 15 March 2012. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Family and friends of 24 people killed in a Hex River bus crash on Saturday gathered in Khayelitsha to bid their loved ones farewell.

The churchgoers were killed when the bus they were traveling in veered off the road and crashed outside De Doorns last week.

At least 38 people were injured in the accident.

Seven people are still in hospital.

Mourners are slowly streaming into Mandela Park Stadium to say their final goodbyes.

Inside the stadium, people are praying and singing hymns.

Dressed in blue and white, around 1,000 people, including bus crash survivors and high-profile politicians are expected to attend the mass funeral.

The 24 coffins are displayed in the centre of the pitch.

Next to each of them are large crosses bearing the names of each of the victims, as well as bouquets of purple and white flowers.

Speaking to Eyewitness News , a bus crash survivor said she is still traumatised by the crash.

WESTDENE BUS CRASH

Speakers at a memorial service for the victims of the 1985 Westdene bus crash said the tragic event should never be forgotten.

Some 42 school pupils died when their double-decker bus plunged into a dam.

Many learners were injured in the deadly crash.

Sedibeng Mayor Simon Mofokeng said South Africans have a responsibility to ensure that similar accidents are not repeated.

The Human Rights Commission's Chantal Kisoon said the loss of lives should lead to a debate about the country's future.

"Often, without intent, the loss of life of innocent children draws us to reflect on ourselves as a society."