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Twenty pupils killed in minibus crash

Sky News logo Sky News 21/04/2017
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(Video credit: Reuters)

At least 20 schoolchildren have been killed after their minibus collided head-on with a truck in South Africa, according to emergency services.

The minibus exploded into a fireball and ended up lying on its side. About 13 children, who were found trapped inside the vehicle by paramedics after the flames were put out, were declared dead at the scene.

Several other pupils were hurt - some were reportedly dragged from the wreckage by people nearby. Their injuries ranged from minor to critical.

Minibus crash © Other Minibus crash

Emergency services said around 20 children had been travelling in the minibus at the time of the crash.

The tragedy happened on a road between the towns of Bronkhorstspruit and Verena, 45 miles from the capital Pretoria, in Mpumalanga province.

Spokesman for the ER24 emergency medical service, Russel Meiring, said: "It is confirmed 20 children have been killed." 

He added: "Paramedics arrived on the scene to find the fire services already in attendance.

"The fire services had already extinguished the burning vehicle, which was found lying on its side."

The cause of the crash is not yet known.

South Africa has a poor road safety record. Road deaths rose to 235 during this year's Easter weekend compared with 156 fatalities last year.

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