Tragedy as 19 schoolkids die in horror crash after lorry smashes into minibus

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A HORROR crash has left 19 schoolkids dead after a lorry smashed into a minibus on a South African highway.

The tragedy happened in the Pongola area – around 300 kilometres north of Durban – on Friday afternoon.

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Dashcam footage shows the lorry overtaking another truck before crashingCredit: eNCA

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Three adults and 19 schoolkids were killed in the crashCredit: eNCA

Horrifying dashcam footage showed the moment the lorry overtook another truck on the two-lane highway before ploughing into the minibus full of schoolkids.

According to local media reports, the minibus tried to swerve out of the way of the oncoming lorry before it was crushed by the vehicle.

Authorities said 19 children – aged between five and 12 – died in the crash, along with three adults.

The kids were said to have been on their way home from school at the time.

The lorry driver fled the scene, but cops arrested him on Saturday after he handed himself in, eNCA reports.

He is due to appear in court on Monday.

Regional transport minister Sipho Hlomuka said: “The death of so many young lives is a serious tragedy.”

South Africa’s roads are among the most developed on the continent – but safety remains an issue with most accidents blamed on reckless driving.

In 2017, 19 schoolchildren were killed when their minibus crashed into a truck and exploded into a ball of fire in the Mpumalanga province, north of the capital Pretoria.

The children on board were said to be of both primary and secondary age.

In 2018, a British teenage girl and her mum, who was related to the Queen, were killed as they were returning from a family safari trip.

Louise Sword, 53, and Tabitha, 12, died after a Mercedes hit them head on near Zinkwazi in KwaZulu-Natal province.

Her husband Alistair, 53, and son Benjamin, 11, were both cut free from their wrecked SUV.

And in 2019, three British tourists were killed after their 4×4 crashed off a bridge and plunged 75ft into a river while driving up the famous 450 mile Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

The group had begun their journey home from their “dream holiday” when their double cab Toyota station wagon and luggage trailer was involved in a crash with a Chrysler Neon.

It’s understood a gust of wind blew the Brit couples’ trailer into the other car, which was travelling in the same direction.

The impact caused their vehicle to flip over the barrier, sending it crashing on its roof into the river below.

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