NewsNational NewsScripps News

Actions

8-year-old lone survivor of South Africa bus crash to leave hospital

Atlang Siako is expected to travel to her home in nearby Botswana, from where the bus was traveling last Thursday on its way to an annual pilgrimage.
8-year-old lone survivor of South Africa bus crash to leave hospital
Posted at 6:47 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 20:48:05-04

The 8-year-old lone survivor of a bus crash that killed at least 45 people in South Africa before Easter weekend will be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, health officials said.

Atlang Siako is expected to travel to her home in neighboring Botswana, from where the bus was traveling last Thursday on its way to an annual Easter pilgrimage that attracts hundreds of thousands of followers of the Zion Christian Church.

The bus careened off a bridge near Mokopane village in the northern province of Limpopo, fell more than 150 feet and caught fire as it hit the rocks below, killing the driver and all passengers except Siako.

Health officials are still working to identify the burnt remains of those who died in the accident. At least eight bodies have been identified, officials said, as they continue to perform tests to identify the others.

Limpopo provincial Health Minister Phophi Ramathuba told reporters on Wednesday that doctors were happy with Siako's condition and that she could return home to Botswana.

"She is in a position where we can now release her to her home because at the same time the psychological impact of being away from home does have an impact on the total, complete healing," Ramathuba said.

SEE MORE: Bus plunges off a bridge in South Africa, killing 45 people

"We want her to heal completely, but she is fine. She is still in a lot of pain but we are satisfied with her condition," she said.

Ramathuba confirmed that at least 35 bodies had been retrieved from the scene and officials were trying to identify them so they could be repatriated to Botswana.

The government of Botswana has announced it will hold national memorial services around the country for the victims.

"The decision to hold a nationwide memorial service was taken in recognition of the fact that the tragedy of losing 45 lives all at once in a single incident would have affected not only the families and relatives of the victims but the entire nation," the office of Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said in a statement.

"It is a national tragedy," the statement added.


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com