ER24’s Russel Meiring tweeted a photograph of the wreck next to a truck‚ with fire fighters extinguishing a blaze.
Meiring said the accident occurred on the R25 between Verena in Mpumalanga and Bronkhorstspruit in Gauteng.
“ER24 paramedics arrived on the scene to find the fire services already in attendance. Fire services had already extinguished the burning vehicle‚ which was found lying on its side.
“Paramedics assessed the scene and found that approximately 20 children had been inside the vehicle when it collided with the truck.
“Once the flames had been extinguished‚ paramedics found that approximately 13 children lying trapped inside the vehicle. Unfortunately‚ nothing could be done for the children and they were declared dead on the scene‚” Meiring said in a statement.
UPDATE] - The number of fatalities from the R25 collision has once again risen and confirmed at 20 children. @ewnupdates @eNCA @JacaNews
The children were high school and primary school.
“It is with sadness to inform that‚ a minibus transporting learners was involved in a horrific accident‚ and about 20 learners died on the scene‚” Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said in a statement.
The Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi tweeted that he was on his way to the scene.
I am told almost 18 learners died in this accident. I am on my way to the scene. It's a dark day for education in GP/MP https://t.co/JXtM60ICNX
Meiring said several other children were found on the scene.
“It is believed that these children had been pulled out of the taxi by members of the community. Paramedics assessed the children and found that seven children had sustained injuries ranging from minor to critical.
“The children were treated for their injuries and provided with advanced life support interventions before they were transported to various hospitals in the area for further treatment.”
The cause of the collision is not yet known but local authorities are on the scene.