30 people killed in head-on collision in South Africa

December 11th, 2011 - 2:50 am ICT by BNO News  

JOHANNESBURG (BNO NEWS) — Thirty people were killed on early Saturday morning when an overloaded minibus taxi collided head-on with a truck in the South African province of Free State, medics said. Several others were injured.

The accident happened at around 3 a.m. local time near Harrismith when an overloaded minibus collided with a truck on the N3 freeway which connects Johannesburg and the city of Durban. Twenty-eight people died at the scene of the accident, including ten children.

Nine others were rushed to Harrismith Provincial Hospital for treatment, said Netcare 911 spokesman Jeffrey Wicks. Two of the critically injured passengers later died at the hospital, raising the death toll to 30.

Wicks said the minibus was carrying 37 people on board at the time of the accident but was only licensed to carry 23. “Common cause information suggests that an errant party strayed from their allocated lane and pushed into oncoming traffic,” he said. “The two vehicles collided and veered sharply out of control.”

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele conveyed condolences to the families of those killed. “We want to convoy condolences to the families of those killed in this gruesome road crash outside Harrismith in the Free State this morning, and wish the injured a speedy recovery,” the minister said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during these tragic moments.”

Roads in South Africa are considered to be among the world’s most dangerous, with more than 13,000 people killed every year. Many accidents are attributed to reckless driving and the poor maintenance of buses and taxis.

A total of 20 people were killed last month when two minibus taxis hit the side of a truck on the N1 national route between the cities of Leeu-Gamka and Prince Albert. More than a dozen others were injured.

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