Pietermaritzburg – The Michaelhouse school bus accident on Tuesday afternoon, which killed one pupil and injured 45 others, is “every parent’s worst nightmare”, a parent said on Facebook.
“My daughter travels for hockey every week and I just can’t imagine what I’d do if I were to be the one receiving this call,” Luyanda Sikhakhane from Durban commented on Facebook.
“Condolences to the family, friends and school…you are in our prayers.”
In a Facebook post, Michaelhouse confirmed that Themba Dloti, originating from Gauteng, passed away in the accident when the bus carrying four under 16 soccer teams crossed the N3 barrier at Town Hill and came to rest in the way of oncoming traffic.
“We are united in our grief and shock and our prayers are extended to the Dloti family.”
KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert McKenzie told News24 that 45 pupils were injured. One is in a critical condition and 11 in a serious condition.
The pupils are being treated in the Greys, Medi Clinic, Hilton Life and St Anne’s Hospitals in Pietermaritzburg.
Maritzburg College, Plett Primary School, Cordwalles Preparatory School and Glenwood High School expressed their shock and sadness over the death through messages on social media.
On Thursday evening, Michaelhouse said the school’s chaplain, Alan Smedley, counsellor Tim Jarvis, and psychologist Rob Pluke were counselling the pupils in the boarding school.
Maharaj’s Coaches, which operated the bus involved in the accident, said this was the “first accident of its kind” in its long association with various schools.
“In so far as the vehicle and driver involved in the accident are concerned, we can give you, the public, the assurance that the vehicle was well maintained and the driver highly experienced,” spokesperson Dev Maharaj said in a statement to News24.
“The incident is truly a blemish on our impeccable safety record and we have no doubt that the investigation will reveal that this was a freak incident that could not have been foreseen or avoided.”
Maharaj said the company’s management team was at the scene on Tuesday afternoon to assist the injured.
“We convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of the student who tragically lost his life and our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those students who were injured in the accident.”
Condolences, thoughts & prayers to all the injured people, their families, friends & those connected to the MichaelHouse schoolbus accident.
— Brent Lindeque (@BrentLindeque) September 5, 2017
Tragic news AGAIN on our roads
Another future leader, child of KZN and human has left us. Our roads are filled with death 🙁 #michaelhouse
— Jason Lee McCall (@JasonMcCall01) September 6, 2017
Thoughts and prayers to all the #michaelhouse families and pupils involved in the bus accident, to the Dloti family, you are in our prayers.
— St Benedicts College (@SBCMedia) September 6, 2017