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School bus accident left one learner dead

by Gabi Khumalo
on 09 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Education MEC Cameron Dugmore has requested that an investigation be opened into the circumstances surrounding an accident involving a school bus which left a 12 year-old learner dead.

A school bus overturned on Thursday morning on Die Eike Road near Dennegeur Farm about 30km from Ceres while transporting 40 pupils to the Die Eike VGK Primary School.

"I want a full report of all the circumstances surrounding the accident and will take further appropriate action if necessary, in the meanwhile though, now is the time to concentrate all our efforts on giving support to the school and family," the MEC said.

Two pupils were trapped under the wreckage after the bus overturned apparently because the bus driver was trying to avert a head-on collision with an oncoming heavy vehicle.

Emergency and rescue personnel managed to retrieve Grade 8 learner, Lilian Boer who was 13 years-old.

Ms Boer and the bus driver were rushed to a local hospital.

"Grade 7 learner Clarissa Smit from the Dennegeur Farm tragically lost her life," Mr Dugmore said, adding that as a precautionary measure, 10 other learners were also admitted to hospital.

Conveying his condolences to the girl's family, Mr Dugmore said: "It is sad when a young child loses her life under such tragic circumstances; our hearts go out to the friends and family of Clarissa."

The department has sent two district office psychologists and other support personnel to provide emotional support and counselling to all the learners, teachers and parents to help them through the trauma.

Early in March, about 40 pupils and six staff members were injured when the driver of the school bus they were travelling in lost control and overturned on the R300 outside Bellville.

The school children, who had special educational needs, were making their way to a Special Olympics event.

Following this the incident, Mr Dugmore appealed to schools using their own transport, department transport and transport contracted by themselves for outings to ensure that safety guidelines are adhered to at all times.

"This incident underlines the need for all of us to be continually vigilant, we have put in place stringent safety requirements for learner transport procured by the department and for transport schemes managed by schools themselves," Mr Dugmore said at the time. - BuaNews

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