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05 Jan 2007 16:25
An independent report into the cause of a bus accident near Pietermaritzburg the day before Christmas, which claimed 12 lives, has confirmed that the accident was as a result of a tyre blow-out and that the bus was roadworthy, bus company SA Roadlink said on Friday.
The preliminary report, carried out by Du Meitre, independent forensics experts that also train the KwaZulu-Natal department of transport officials, also said it was “very highly unlikely” that the driver fell asleep, and that all signs show he was completely in charge of all his faculties at the time of the blow-out, SA Roadlink said in a statement.
Allan Reddy, CEO of SA Roadlink, said the report corroborated earlier sworn testimony from the driver and the hostess of a loud bang just prior to the accident, suggesting a tyre blow-out.
“The report further vindicates that it was a tragic freak accident. We have been operating for over five years and in this time have carried over two million people [and travelled] more than 30-million kilometres with no fatalities.
“Safety of our passengers, our drivers and all other road uses has and always will be our foremost concern.”
Reddy said a final report would be released by Du Meitre and another by the South African Police Service shortly.
Pietermaritzburg senior prosecutor Morris Alexander has decided not to charge the driver or anyone from SA Roadlink for the accident.
The driver has been cleared of driving under the influence.
“As a precautionary measure, SA Roadlink has also engaged Volvo, the bus manufacturer, to recheck their entire fleet to further ensure that safety standards continue to be of the highest order.
“SA Roadlink has also approached the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport and volunteered all their buses for additional roadworthiness tests,” the bus company said, adding that all SA Roadlink buses continued to operate normally on all its routes.—I-Net Bridge
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