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Bus Crash Kills 56

July 2, 1989

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) _ A bus skidded on a wet highway and plunged 900 feet down an embankment, killing 56 people, authorities said Sunday.

More than 20 people were hospitalized, some with severe injuries, police and press reports said.

The bus was carrying workers home from the Natal province town of Harding to the tribal homeland of Transkei on South Africa’s southeast coast when it skidded off the road about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, police said. As many as 100 people were aboard, according to one newspaper report.

It reportedly was raining at the time of the accident.

The South African Broadcast Corp. put the death toll at 56. It quoted Lew Corbett, traffic chief at Port Shepstone, as saying the bus left the road and overturned, then tumbled into the ravine.

Another police report quoted by the network said the top of the bus was sheared off as it fell.

The South African Press Association said all the victims were black and included some children. It said at least three people were unhurt, including the driver and bus conductor.

The injured were taken to hospitals in Harding and the coastal town of Port Shepstone, each about 10 miles from the scene. Some of the most serious cases were brought to Durban, 60 miles to the northeast.

Buses used to carry workers are frequently overloaded and not well maintained.

The crash was the second serious bus accident in the country in two days. On Friday, eight people were killed and 53 hurt when a bus ran off a road and overturned near the Numbi gate entrance of Kruger National Park, a wildlife reserve.

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