At least 11 people were killed and some 59 others injured when a bus transporting supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) from an election rally in Port Elizabeth overturned, South African emergency services said.
The bus rolled off the N1 highway between Ventersburg and Winsburg in the Free State, trapping passengers underneath the vehicle, ER24 paramedics said in a statement.
The cause of the accident is not yet known, but paramedics say at least 21 passengers were in a critical condition.
President Jacob Zuma on Saturday launched the ANC’s manifesto in Port Elizabeth which was attended by some 40,000 ANC supporters.
The manifesto launch precedes local elections to be held in August.
Local media reports quote the media liaison officer for Netcare 911, Athlenda Mathe as saying: “All injured have been transported to various hospitals in the area for further medical care. Some of those who are in a critical condition were airlifted to nearby hospitals for further medical care.”
“The ANC has learnt with sadness of a fatal accident in the Free State where a bus carrying comrades returning from the ANC manifesto rally in Port Elizabeth overturned,” the party said in a statement.
ANC SADDENED BY ACCIDENT WHICH HAS CLAIMED LIVES OF COMRADES RETURNING FROM MANIFESTO LAUNCH pic.twitter.com/YB5DYFT1m9
— ANC (@MYANC) April 17, 2016
“Our thoughts are with the injured and bereaved at this time.”
South Africa has problems with road safety. Some 4,500 people were killed in accidents last year alone, according to the country’s Road Traffic Management Corporation.