20 children killed when minibus hits truck in South Africa

A minibus crashed and burned on Friday killing at least 20 children in a horrific traffic accident outside the South African capital Pretoria.

"Some of the pupils burnt beyond recognition, as they were trapped inside", emergency services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash.

The minibus caught fire, provincial education official Panyaza Lesufi tweeted. He said the minibus driver was killed, while the truck driver survived.

The emergency services rescued seven children before the bus burst into flames. Several children were injured, he said.

Bus crash
TWITTERThe bus burst into flames following the collision

The minibus was travelling between the villages of Verena and Bronkhorstpruit on the R25 highway.

In a statement, emergency medical service ER24 described arriving at the scene, where fire-fighters were tackling the flames. The other children were recovered from outside the vehicle.

The Gauteng Education Department wrote on Twitter: "This is a huge loss and we're deeply pained by the tragic news".

A total of 235 people died in accidents on South Africa's roads during the recent Easter period, a 51 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to the country's Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Road deaths rose to 235 during this year's Easter weekend compared with 156 fatalities last year.

  • Elsie Buchanan