Girl, eight, sole survivor as 45 die in bus crash off South Africa bridge

A bus carrying worshippers to an Easter festival plunged off a bridge on a mountain pass in South Africa and burst into flames, killing at least 45 people.

The only survivor of the crash was an eight-year-old child, who was receiving medical attention, according to authorities in the northern province of Limpopo. They said the child was seriously injured.

The Limpopo provincial government said the bus veered off the Mmamatlakala bridge and plunged 50 metres into a ravine.

South Africa Bus Crash
Rescuers on the bridge in an image taken from video provided by eNCA (eNCA/AP)

Authorities said they believe the bus was travelling from the neighbouring country of Botswana to the town of Moria, which hosts a popular Easter pilgrimage. They said it appeared that the driver lost control and was one of the dead.

Minister of transport Sindisiwe Chikunga was in Limpopo province for a road safety campaign and changed plans to visit the crash scene, the national Department of Transport said.

She said there was an investigation under way into the cause of the crash and offered her condolences to the families of the victims.

South Africa Bus Crash
An image taken from video provided by eNCA shows the remains of the bus (eNCA/AP)

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

The Zionist Christian Church has its headquarters in Moria and its Easter pilgrimage attracts hundreds of thousands of people from across South Africa and neighbouring countries.

This year is the first time the Easter pilgrimage to Moria went ahead since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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