The age of the children was between 7 and15. 42 survivors were taken to Knysna Provincial Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
The bus was delivering the children to Rheenendal Primary School when the vehicle veered off the Rheenendal Road and plunged into the Kasatdrift River (Kassat se Drift River). It has yet to be determined what caused the accident but it’s possible that the driver lost control on roads made slippery by heavy rain the night before. When emergency services arrived, only the back of the bus was above the water.
The severity of the accident was undoubtedly compounded by overcrowding as the 32-seater was carrying 58 children (as reported by Knysna-Plett Herald). Considering that the school is for poorer children, we shouldn’t be quick to point fingers, and worsen the tragedy, with this fact. More details need to be gathered and a solution found. A 67-seater was actually approved for this route.
This would be a severe blow to any community but in a small town such as ours it’s even bigger. There will be a lot of tears in Knysna today. My heart goes out to the school and the victim’s families and friends.
View the update on this situation by clicking here.
I may have been critical of Knysna-Plett Herald’s selective reporting in the past but their immediate donation of R10 000 to the families is applaudable. If you wish to assist, the account details are as follows:
Rheenendal Bus Tragedy Support Fund
First National Bank
George-Branch – 210114
Account number – 62324295676