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Monday, October 4, 1999 Published at 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK

World: Africa

South Africa bus crash kills 19

Last week's crash prompted safety pledges by the government

Nineteen people have reportedly been killed and 47 seriously injured after a bus crashed down a river embankment in South Africa.

Local media said most of the dead were youngsters and included two children aged eight and 10. The accident occurred in the Eastern Cape province on Sunday night.

The crash comes a week after 26 British tourists and their South African guide were killed when their coach plunged down a mountainside in the north-east of the country.

According to the South Africa Press Association, the driver in the latest incident allegedly lost control of the bus, which ploughed 30 metres down an embankment on the Kei River.

Safety reforms

The latest incident brings to 79 the number of people killed in bus accidents in South Africa in the past 12 days.

The South African government pledged to reform its passenger transport system in the wake of last Monday's coach crash.

A number of measures to regulate the industry were announced by Transport Minister Dullah Omar.

These include:

  • vehicle fitness testing
  • lower speed limits for buses
  • regulating maximum driving hours
  • mandatory advanced courses for long distance drivers

A government commission has been set up to investigate the circumstances of the crash, which occurred on the Long Tom Pass, a popular tourist area near the Kruger National Park.

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