Six killed, 32 injured in head on bus collision near Mossel Bay
Six people were killed and at least 30 severely injured after two busses collided head-on on the N2 between Mossel Bay and Voorbaai in the Western Cape on Saturday, 13 May 2023. The Western Cape Mobility Department said one bus took a wrong turn into oncoming traffic. Mossel Bay Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services’ Station commander Ann Supra-Vertue, said, “The call was received at 01h25 and our response included rescue vehicle 1 (RV1) with two crew, major fire engine (E3) with platoon commander and two crew, SCBA/hazmat vehicle (HB1) with two crew and a standby officer from Mossel Bay Main Fire Station, rescue vehicle 2 (RV2) with two crew and major fire engine (E4) with one crew from Great Brak River Sub Fire Station.”
“Other emergency services, apart from the fire department that attended to the incident: included Metro Ambulance Services with four ambulances, Metro Rescue with five vehicles from Mossel Bay, Knysna, Oudtshoorn, George and Riversdale respectively, each with one technician), By Grace Private Ambulance Services with two ambulances, ER24 Private Ambulance Services with two ambulances, EDR Rescue with one rescue vehicle with one technician, SAPS Kwanonqaba Station with four vehicles with crew, SAPS Forensic Services with one vehicle with two crew, Western Cape Pathology Services with two vehicles and two technicians, Western Cape Provincial Traffic Services with four vehicles, Municipal Traffic Services with one vehicle and one traffic official, Municipal Law Enforcement with one vehicle and one traffic official, the Crash Investigation Team with one national representative and the Provincial Team and Intercape with two smaller busses and two trailers,” said Supra-Vertue.
She added, “Upon arrival and brief scene size-up of the scene, the crew immediately activated additional resources from the Fire Services, Ambulance Services, Provincial Traffic and also requested that the fire service standby officer be activated. Additional resources were activated from the Mossel Bay and Great Brak River fire stations. The N2 lanes, direction Voorbaai to Dana Bay, were closed. Both lanes direction Dana Bay to Voorbaai remained open. All traffic, direction from Voorbaai to Dana Bay, was routed via Louis Fourie Road through the Mossel Bay town area. It was confirmed that the Intercape bus was transporting 67passengers and the Williams Tours bus was transporting 37 passengers at the time of the incident.”
“Patients were triaged where the first operational focus was to transport the red and yellow triaged patients to hospital. An area was identified where the various ambulances entered, loaded patients and then transported them to hospital. All green triaged patients were transported to hospital once all red and yellow triaged patients were transported to hospital. Sadly, after all efforts by medical staff, one female patient that was triaged red passed away on scene. The deceased were then removed from inside both busses, whereafter the extrication of the only entrapment, the Williams Tours bus driver, commenced,” continued Supra-Vertue.
SAPS Forensic Services gathered all information and photos relating to the deceased for their investigation purposes and authorised the removal of the deceased. All deceased were packaged and loaded by the Western Cape Pathology Services.
“A search of the area was initiated because the Williams Tours bus did not have a passenger manifest and the number of passengers was unclear. The search concluded with the team finding one male, blue triage, underneath the Williams Tours bus. He was removed from under the bus by the rescue staff. He was also loaded and transported from the scene by the Western Cape Pathology Services,” she said.
“Intercape Bus Services avail two smaller busses to transport all non-medical patients as well as the luggage from both bus services to Shell Voorbaai bus depot.”
“A representative from the National Crash Investigation Unit was on scene to gather information and informed all services that the incident must remain as is until the Provincial Crash Investigation Team completes their gathering of information for investigation purposes.” “An on-scene debriefing was conducted after completion of all activities because responders were from throughout the Garden Route. This was to identify any challenges or improvements for future incidents.”
“A skid unit from Mossel Bay Fire Station was dispatched and remained on scene until the wreckages were removed. The position, damage and trees made it impossible for the crews to disconnect the battery terminals of the Williams Tours bus. All emergency services, except the skid unit, SAPS, National Crash Investigator and traffic services, returned to their respective bases.”
“The Provincial Crash Investigation Team arrived and completed their information gathering. Authorisation was granted for the vehicle recovery services to remove the busses from scene. The road surface was cleared for all debris and the N2 was reopened for traffic use at 12h31.”
Patient triage Blue: 6 (5x adult males and 1x adult female) Red: 4 (2x adult males and 1x adult female) Yellow: 8 (2x adult males, 1x male child and 5x adult female) Green: 20 (9x adult males and 11x adult female) Non-medical: 66 persons
Challenges faced included that the Williams Bus Tours did not have a passenger manifest and the spectators driving on the N2 direction from Dana Bay to Voorbaai, stopping on the N2 to take videos, photos and to view the scene causing a high risk for a secondary collision.
Timeline 01:25 : The incident reported 02:21 : Mossel Bay Provincial Hospital notified to prepare for the patients. 03:23 : All patients were transported to hospital 04:07 : An search of the area initiated 04:22 : Search completed. 05:03 : All extrication operations to free the entrapped driver from the Williams Tours bus was completed 05:03 : National Crash Investigator on scene 05:21 : Scene handed over to SAPS 05:40 : Fire department skid unit remains on scene 05:43 : Vehicle Recover Services on scene 10:46 : Intercape bus removed from the scene 12:02 : Williams Tours bus removed from scene 12:31 : N2 Opened
Source: Station commander Ann Supra-Vertue, Mossel Bay Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services’
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