S.African school bus crash kills 15
A school bus veered off a road and plunged into a river Wednesday in South Africa, killing 14 children and the bus driver, rescue officials said.
"Only the rear of the bus was above the water" when paramedics arrived, said Andre Visser, spokesman for rescue service ER24.
Forty-two children who survived the crash were treated for injuries and hypothermia, he told AFP.
He called the accident, which happened as the children were on their way to school in Knysna, in South Africa's Western Cape province, "absolutely tragic".
The province's emergency services department said the children were between the ages of seven and 14.
There was no information immediately available on the cause of the crash.
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele called the accident "horrific", adding, "We cannot go on like this."
South African roads are among the most dangerous in the world, with some 13,000 people killed every year -- more than 35 a day.
The day before the crash, Ndebele had called for a "decade of action" on road safety reform, telling a meeting of transport officials that local and provincial governments should be made to set specific road safety targets.
"South Africa can no longer afford a business-as-usual approach to road safety," he said.
"Each province and municipality must know where, when, why, who, what and how in terms of road deaths in their respective areas."
Wednesday's accident comes the day before the anniversary of a crash that killed 10 children in the same province last year.
In that accident, the driver of a minibus taxi carrying students to school tried to go around a lowered boom at a railroad crossing. An oncoming train crashed into the taxi, which was carrying 13 children.
© 2011 AFP