South Africa: 12 schoolchildren die in minibus crash South Africa: 12 schoolchildren die in minibus crash

South Africa: 12 schoolchildren die in minibus crash

South Africa: 12 schoolchildren die in minibus crash

Twelve schoolchildren and their driver died Wednesday in South Africa when their minibus overturned and burst into flames on a road in Gauteng province, authorities said. The accident happened a day after schools reopened after the winter holidays.

Seven other children were injured in the accident, which occurred in the town of Merafong, west of the country's economic hub, Johannesburg . A small truck, known as a bakkie , reportedly crashed into the back of the minibus carrying the children, causing it to overturn and burst into flames.

Education and Transport officials attended the scene of the accident and visited the injured children at a hospital in the neighbouring Carletonville area. Gauteng provincial government leader Panyaza Lesufi also visited the injured children.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said 11 of the deceased children attended Rocklands Primary School, while the 12th attended Laerskool Blyvooruitsig in Carletonville.

"The students' transport was hit from behind by a bakkie, which overturned and subsequently caught fire ," said Mr Mabona, who described the accident as "terrible" .

Thousands of Gauteng schoolchildren use private minibuses to travel to and from school in South Africa 's most populous province . Many others rely on public transport, including municipal buses and taxis.

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