Questions remain following Franschhoek Pass bus crash that claimed 3 lives

The cause of the crash on Saturday 7 March on the Franschhoek Pass, involving a bus carrying members of the rugby club Franschhoek RFC, their supporters and involving cyclists has yet to be concluded.

Western Cape Provincial Traffic Chief Kenny Africa says that they are not certain of the circumstances of the crash and advised that the public give the police time to conduct a thorough investigation.

It is reported that the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and was unable to make the sharp turn. Other speculation suggests that the bus driver swerved in an attempt to avoid two cyclists.

The scene of the tragic bus crash on Franschhoek Pass where three people died. Image courtesy of Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

Roadworthiness of the bus

Coach of Franschhoek RFC Archie Johnson told CapeTalk's Kieno Kammies that, according to the surviving passengers he spoke to, the driver struggled to pull the handbrake up and that he was assisted by the coach on board before realising it was too late for the brakes to work.

Africa says the bus has been removed from the accident scene and is now in the hands of SAPS. SAPS will assess whether the brakes failed as alleged by the driver on Tuesday 10 March. Once the roadworthiness of vehicle has been evaluated the authorities will, according to Africa, “take it from there”.

Two cyclists on the road

Africa suggests that stopping suddenly with a heavy motor vehicle such as a bus is difficult task. He says he has been informed that there were two cyclists involved in the crash scene. He added that it was not clear if the cyclists were in the driver’s way.

At this point in time we are not 100% sure whether the bus had to swerve out, stop or try to prevent an accident with these two cyclists, and indeed the two cyclists who were knocked over by the bus are in a serious condition.

Yet, according to EWN reports, Western Cape emergency officials say the crash occurred after the driver swerved to avoid hitting two cyclists on the road.

Deceased and injured

Of the 29 passengers who were aboard the bus, three have died and 26 were seriously injured. The two cyclists who were involved in the crash were also seriously injured and air-lifted off the scene.

Johnson says that the three passengers killed were team supporter Abraham Lybrand (61), Denzil Boonzier (19) who was an under-20 player, as well as senior player Russel Riffel (24).

Another fatal crash on Franschhoek Pass

Africa confirmed that there was another deadly crash on the same mountain pass on Sunday 8 March in which a vehicle overturned killing two people and seriously injuring another two.

There was an accident involving a double-cab bakkie on the foot of Franschhoek Pass. The driver lost control of the vehicle and the driver and one passenger died. Two passengers were seriously injured and another four sustained minor injuries.

Listen to the full update on Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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