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Mbalula in 'shock' after EC bus crash claims at least 25 lives

The accident happened on a gravel road in Willowvale at Qolweni location with the vehicle rolling down a steep embankment.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he was in shock after a bus crash in the Eastern Cape with the death toll now rising to 25 and with at least 61 injured.

The accident happened on a gravel road in Willowvale at Qolweni location with the vehicle rolling down a steep embankment.

Officials said the bus was travelling from Chebe to Butterworth.

It’s understood the bus plunged down an embankment after the driver lost control of the vehicle on Monday morning.

The injured include a three-year-old child who was ejected from the bus.

Traffic spokesperson Simon Zwane said four passengers passed away on Monday afternoon: “The death toll has increased to 25 and about 61 injuries with some having died in hospital.”

He said several medical emergency vehicles, including helicopters, were dispatched to rescue the trapped passengers.

Images of the crash show the vehicle rolled a number of times before coming to a halt at the bottom of the steep embankment.

The Eastern Cape transport department said the bus that crashed in Qolweni was allegedly overloaded with passengers.

Department spokesperson Unathi Binqose said they were investigating: “In terms of the numbers, we know for a fact that we had over 80 people in that bus if you take the 20 plus that have passed on and the 60 odd that were admitted to hospital.”