N2 Kei Cuttings bus accident leaves 27 dead
At least 27 people have been killed in a bus accident on the N2 at Kei Cuttings between East London and Butterworth in the Eastern Cape on Monday afternoon.
The death toll has been revised from earlier reports which indicated that 10 people have died.
Eastern Cape transport department spokesperson, Unathi Binqose, says the number of the deaths could increase as more people were still trapped inside the wrecked bus.
A large number of search and rescue personnel, traffic officers, firefighters and paramedics are on the scene.
Binqose said the death toll is likely to increase as search and rescue personnel plan to flip the bus over to see whether more people are trapped underneath.
The accident took place on the notorious section of the N2, known as the Kei Cuttings, north of the Kei River, which is known for its perilous twists and turns.
Binqose said the driver of the bus is among those who died.
The driver is believed to have lost control of the long-distance passenger bus before it plunged 200 metres down a steep embankment.
“He lost control just before he could cross the river on the last curve,” said Binqose.
Chief director of clinical support services for the health department, Kidwell Matshotyana, told TellitallSA that 22 people were stable and did not want to go to hospital.
“In terms of the injured people, we have five patients admitted at Frere Hospital and one at Life St Dominic’s Private Hospital [both in East London],” he said.
The department will arrange transport for the 22 people, who don’t want to go to hospital, to the nearest town. They will be given accommodation.
The bus is understood to have been transporting passengers from Cape Town.
Hospitals and emergency services in the area and further afield were offering help with triaging patients.
He said the police had the grim task of going through the luggage to find identity documents, in order to begin informing the next of kin of the tragedy.
The department would also work with the bus company to establish a contact centre for worried families checking up on people who were on the bus, and those details would be announced later.