Six people have been burnt beyond recognition while scores of others had been injured when the commuter bus they were travelling in caught alight on the R537 Moloto Road on Friday afternoon.
The Tshwane Emergency Services said 57 other passengers sustained injuries and the charred remains of the six passengers were found in the bus after firefighters extinguished the blaze. Tshwane Emergency Services deputy chief Thabo Charles Mabaso said the Putco bus caught fire at about 14:00 near Roodeplaat Dam.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found 14 patients and received reports that other patients were already rushed to hospital by private emergency medical services ambulances.
"Of the 14 patients, 11 suffered minor injuries, two sustained moderate injuries, while one female patient had to be airlifted to Milpark Hospital in a critical condition," Mabaso said.
After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters discovered what appeared to be charred human remains. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that six of the commuters were burned beyond recognition during the incident.
Mabaso said according to the bus driver the bus caught alight while driving.
He immediately stopped. "The driver indicated that the bus was carrying 63 commuters from Marabastad in Tshwane to Tweefontein in Mpumalanga. The cause of the fire is not yet known, and the deceased have not yet been identified," Mabaso added.
Tshwane metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Issac Mahamba said the road had been closed to traffic.
"The road will be closed till further notice. Motorists are urged to avoid the R573 and find alternative routes," Mahamba said.
He added that traffic had been diverted through Kameelfontein Road from the Sefako Makgatho Road and Moloto Road near the China Mall.