Survivors of an overturned bus that claimed the lives of nine people in Free State have told of their ordeal.
The driver of the bus allegedly hanged himself following the tragic accident. Free State department of health spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said the bus overturned on Alma Road in Welkom around 5am yesterday.
He said the 31-year-old driver hanged himself from a tree not far from the accident scene, using a safety belt that he cut from the bus.
“We think that he felt accountable for the deaths and decided to kill himself,” said Mvambi.
He said the bus was travelling from Durban, stopping at Welkom and would then head to Bloemfontein.
“Nine people were killed and 46 were injured from moderate to critical conditions,” Mvambi said.
Mvambi said the driver allegedly lost control of the bus, leading to it overturning. Lerato Ntuli, 31, who survived the accident, told Sowetan she was grateful to be alive. She sustained moderate injuries on the face and right leg.
“I feel very lucky to have come out alive when others died in front of me,” said Ntuli.
She said she was traveling from Durban to Bloemfontein. She said the bus was approaching Welkom when it overturned.
“I was asleep and I woke up to screaming people, when I opened my eyes the bus was already rolling,” Ntuli said.
She said after the bus stopped, she just notice she was bleeding from her face.
“I heard a man screaming that he was stuck, but I couldn’t help him because my leg was also stuck between the seats.”
Ntuli said she overheard other passengers saying the driver took the wrong route and there was an argument.
“Young kids have died. Bodies were scattered around the bus as I went out.”
She said emergency services arrived on time and rescued as many passengers as possible.
Free State health MEC Montseng Tsiu has sent her condolences to the families of the deceased and wished the injured speedy recovery.