Bus carrying Easter worshippers veers off bridge, killing at least 45 in nearly 200-foot plunge

A bus heading to an Easter festival veered off a bridge and fell nearly 200 feet in South Africa on Thursday, killing at least 45 passengers, authorities said.

The Limpopo provincial government said a bus traveling from the neighboring country to the town of Moria for a popular Easter pilgrimage, rode off the side of the Mmamatlakala bridge, plunging approximately 164 feet into a ravine and bursting into flames.

Miraculously, not everyone on board the bus at the time of the crash perished.

The sole survivor of the crash, an 8-year-old child, was seriously injured but was transported from the wreck to receive medical attention, according to authorities in the northern province of Limpopo.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing, the government said, and first responders were still retrieving bodies, many burned beyond recognition, from inside the vehicle.

Authorities said they believe the driver lost control moments before it veered off the bridge. The driver was confirmed to be among the dead.

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga offered her condolences to the families of the victims. She plans to visit the crash scene, the national Department of Transport said.

The Easter holidays is a particularly busy time for road travel and the South African government often warns of the increased danger of road accidents this time of the year.

More than 200 people died in road crashes during the Easter weekend last year.

The organization has its headquarters in Moria. Its Easter pilgrimage attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across South Africa and neighboring countries.

ant