CAPE TOWN, March 15 (Xinhua) -- The toll from a bus crash in South Africa rose to 24 from the previously reported 22, authorities said Friday.
Investigation indicated that brake failure caused the tragedy in which a bus crashed down an embankment into the Hex River Valley in De Doorns, about 120 km northeast of Cape Town.
The accident killed at least 24 passengers, including the driver and three children, and injured scores of others, of whom 38 hospitalized, according to the latest information.
Western Cape traffic authorities said evidence at the scene strongly suggested the brakes failed. "Early reports from the surviving passengers indicated brake failure as the main reason for the crash,"Western Cape transport MEC (member of executive council) Robin Carlise said.
The bus, en route from Secunda, Mpumalanga Provice to Cape Town, was carrying about 80 church members.
Rescuers have succeeded in cutting through the bus wreckage and salvaged a number of passengers trapped underneath, Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa said. But three passengers trapped underneath the wreckage were found dead, according to Emergency service ER24 spokesperson, Vanessa Jackson
The government conveyed its deepest condolences to the families and friends of commuters that were killed in the accident, Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO, Phumla Williams, said. This was an unfortunate incident and urged drivers to be vigilant on the road and obey all traffic laws, she said.
"Vehicle safety inspections are important and should be conducted on a regular basis. Owners of public transport vehicles are particularly urged to comply with safety regulatory standards, " said Williams.