24 confirmed dead in taxi, bus collision near Maphalle, Limpopo
On the evening of 16 June 2019, shortly before 21h00, an accident involving a minibus taxi and bus was reported from the R81 Giyani-Mooketsi road in the Mopani District of the Limpopo Province. The accident occurred close to the rural community of Maphalle and was responded to by the Modjadjiskloof Fire Station and other first responders, including the Limpopo Provincial Emergency Medical Service, South African Police Services (SAPS) and Traffic. One rescue unit and two skid units with a total of five personnel members responded from the Modjadjiskloof Fire Station, which is located some 44km away from where the incident occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that an extrication would be required to free the patients trapped in the taxi. Due to the nature of the accident and high number of fatalities, it took several hours for the scene to be processed and cleared, with members of Modjadjiskloof Fire Station only arriving back at their station after 4h30 on Monday morning.
To provide support to members of all emergency and other services who attended the accident scene, a trauma debriefing session was held on Wednesday, 19 June 2019, at the Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre in Tzaneen.
In the wake of the accident, the Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre, as a part of the Community Services department, was also activated to assist with arrangements around the funeral of those who lost their lives in the accident.
The collision has claimed the lives of 24 people, the Department of Transport has announced. It is believed that the occupants of the minibus were returning from Youth Day celebrations in the province when the accident occurred. "I can confirm that the number of people confirmed dead is 24," said spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Ayanda-Allie Paine. All those who lost their lives were in the minibus taxi. She added that the minibus was overloaded by an additional 10 people when the accident occurred.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said, "It is alleged that one driver lost control of the vehicle and collided head on with another one on a sharp curve." Three occupants of the bus were injured.
"This was the bloodiest weekend we have experience and it again point to recklessness and negligence by drivers," the RTMC CEO Advocate Makhosini Msibi said in a statement on Monday.
RTMC is also investigating an accident on the same stretch of road at Dingamanzi Village, between Giyani and Polokwane, where two vehicles collided in the early hours of Sunday morning. Six people were killed.
Six people also died when two cars collided on the R544 between Emalahleni and Verena. Among the dead were three children aged between two and 13 years of age. Three people were injured.
Msibi urged motorists returning from the long weekend to drive carefully and respect the rules of the road.
Source: Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre and News24