Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore expressed his sadness upon hearing of the tragic death of a 12-year-old learner when a bus collapsed and crushed her body in an accident near Ceres today (Thursday 08 May).
The accident happened about 10.00 on Die Eike Road, near the Dennegeur Farm about 30km from Ceres. Of the 40 Die Eike VGK Primary School learners in the bus, two were trapped under the wreckage when the bus overturned on its way to the school.
Emergency and rescue personnel managed to retrieve a grade 8 learner Lilian Boer (13) who has been admitted to the local hospital together with the driver of the bus. As a precautionary measure, ten other learners were also admitted but discharged late in the afternoon.
However, grade 7 learner Clarissa Smit from the Dennegeur Farm tragically lost her life. Her family was immediately informed.
From initial reports from officials of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) it appears that the bus driver was trying to avert a head-on collision with an oncoming heavy vehicle.
Apparently the driver of the bus was also the caretaker of the school, and this will now also be the subject of a full-scale investigation. In terms of procedure, the SA Police Services also automatically opens a culpable homicide inquest docket.
Said MEC Dugmore: "It is sad when a young child looses her life in such tragic circumstances. Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Clarissa.
"Naturally 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 not the time to apportion blame but to concentrate all our efforts on giving support to the school and family.
"I also want to express my appreciation for the quick response and support provided by medical and rescue personnel, traffic services, the police and WCED officials when the accident occurred.
"The department has made the services of two District Office psychologists and other support personnel available and will continue to provide emotional support and counseling to all the learners, teachers and parents throughout this period."
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