Death toll from accident increases to 29

29 people died in the Centane bus accident which took place on Monday morning. Pictures LULAMILE FENI
Four of the five people airlifted from the horrific bus crash scene outside Centane and flown to a hospital in East London have died, bringing the death toll to 29.

On Tuesday there were fears that the number could increase.

Of the passengers 64 were injured.

The latest toll was announced by transport minister Fikile Mbalula and provincial transport MEC Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe when they addressed mourners at the Butterworth Hospital.

The political leaders spoke after families had identified the bodies of their loved ones in the hospital’s forensic pathology unit.

”It is sad that the number has now increased and there are fears that the numbers can still rise further. It is bad that we have lost so many lives,” Mbalula said.

On Tuesday members of 25 families travelled by bus from Cwebe and Lusizini village in Centane to Butterworth to conduct the painful process of identifying their loved ones.

Some mourners travelled from King William’s Town in a bus owned by the Africa Best AB350 bus company, the same company whose bus plunged over the cliff.

”Enough is enough. We will leave no stone unturned; we will investigate every aspect, whether the bus was roadworthy, or speeding or not. This is tragic. People cannot make a profit from the lives of other people,” Mbalula said.

He said a monument should be erected in memory of the dead.

Tikana-Gxothiwe said there were 93 passengers at the time of the accident. The bus was certified to carry 79 people, 65 seated and 14 standing, according to the company.

”We believe that overloading and speeding contributed to the accident while at the same time we cannot yet rule out the possibility of a mechanical fault. All this will be ascertained in the investigation that will be launched,” said Tikana-Gxothiwe.

Mbalula said: ”We cannot tolerate a bus that is so overloaded as if you are loading something else, not people. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

Mbalula and Tikana-Gxothiwe said the report of the findings of the investigation would be made public and action taken.

Tikana-Gxothiwe said the Road Accident Fund was no longer paying funds to funeral parlours but was paying directly to the families themselves.

By Lulamile Feni – DispatchLIVE

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