Update: School community grieves pupil’s tragic death

The scene of the accident where a hired bus carrying Michaelhouse pupils overturned on the N3


One of the critically injured pupils in this afternoon’s bus accident on the N3 near Townhill in Pietermaritzburg has passed away.

Michaelhouse rector Greg Theron said in a statement that they were saddened to confirm the passing of Themba Dloti in this afternoon’s terrible accident.

“The entire School, staff and boys, gathered in the Chapel where the news was shared. We are united in our grief and shock and our prayers are extended to the Dloti family.
“Forty six boys and four staff members were being transported in a 60 seat hired bus to soccer fixtures at Kearsney College this afternoon when the accident occurred,”said Theron.
He said numerous boys and some staff members were seriously injured and are currently undergoing surgery in one of four hospitals in Pietermaritzburg (Greys, Medi Clinic, Hilton Life and St Anne’s).

“The Rector and members of our staff are on hand at these hospitals. The school counsellor, Tim Jarvis, along with Rob Pluke and the School Chaplain, Alan Smedley are counselling boys with the assistance of Housemasters,”said Theron in the statement. 

ER24 spokesperson, Russell Meirring, confirmed that paramedics had tried to treat the child on the scene as his injuries were deemed serious but failed to save his life as he eventually succumbed to his injuries there. The 47 other children are being attended to at various nearby hospitals.

The bus overturned earlier this afternoon after a tyre blow-out. Four teams of U16 boys were travelling to Kearsney College in Hillcrest for a soccer tournament.

A witness who was travelling on the N3 near where the accident took place said at about 2.05pm, she heard a loud bang.

“I thought it was like the noise of a big object being dropped. Five minutes  later I was in my car on the highway towards PMB. I saw the bus on its side . It must have been 5-10 minutes after the big noise and already there were about 10 ambulances on the scene. I am so grateful that our emergency services were on the scene quickly. Luckily Life hospital is close. On my way to PMB saw another 5 ambulances and fire engines on their way to the scene. It is nice to know our emergency services can react when they need to. Sending prayers to all involved and thanks for the paramedics,”said Trish Beaver on Facebook.

One of the first policemen on the scene said it was utter chaos with inconsiderate drivers blocking the emergency lane.

“We had one of the children trapped and the fire engine and big rig could not get through. All service responded promptly. If only drivers would keep emergency lanes open,”said the police officer.

The scene of the accident where a hired bus carrying Michaelhouse pupils overturned on the N3.

Attorney Dev Maharaj who responded on behalf of the management of Maharaj’s Coaches said it was with deep regret that they learnt of the very serious accident that occurred today involving one of their buses that was transporting students from Michaelhouse. This is the first accident of its kind during our long association with various colleges in the area and we hereby convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of the student who tragically lost his life and our best wishes for a speedy recovery to those students who were injured in the accident.

Our management are currently on the scene assisting the injured children and we will continue to provide all support that is required to minimise the harm and inconvenience that will be experienced by all parties during these trying times and we can give the public, the affected children and their parents the assurance that we will continue to provide the support to them until they have fully recovered.

In so far as the vehicle and driver involved in the accident is concerned, we can give you the public the assurance that the vehicle was well maintained and the driver highly experienced. We will co-operate fully with the traffic authorities who may wish to conduct investigations into the probable cause of the accident and will keep those affected by this very tragic incident advised of the outcome of the investigations.

The incident is truly a blemish on our impeccable safety record and we have no doubt that the investigation will reveal that this was a freak incident that could not have been foreseen or avoided.

The company will continue to provide all necessary assistance to the injured and their families during these trying times and will  do our best to accommodate any special requests.

The incident is highly regrettable and we wish all injured pupils a full recovery.

Read: Bus carrying Michaelhouse pupils overturns

Byrone Athman

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