At Least 45 Killed in South Africa Bus Crash

( – An 8-year-old girl has emerged as the lone survivor of a deadly bus crash in South Africa that claimed the lives of 45 people who were on their way to attend an annual Easter gathering.

The event was to be held in the city of Moria, which is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The victims all belonged to a Christian group and were traveling from Botswana.

According to authorities, the driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle, which was on a bridge at the time of the incident, causing it to collide with the barriers on the bridge at multiple points. The bus eventually toppled off the bridge, falling a hundred feet down to the ground below, and then burst into flames. Officials say that many of the remains were found burnt beyond recognition, which will make identifying them much more difficult. A health official from the Limpopo’s health department, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba, told media outlets that only around nine of the remains were likely be identified.

Authorities have also confirmed that all the victims lived in Botswana.

The victims were part of a massive Easter pilgrimage to Moria, where the Africa-based megachurch Zion Christian Church is located. Authorities estimate that around three to five million people make the journey to Zion’s eponymously named “city” in Moria to celebrate Easter with fellow believers. The gathering was also expected to be larger than in previous years, as it was the first such time the church was to hold the celebration since the pandemic.

Officials, who sent their condolences to the victims’ families, had earlier issued warnings to motorists in the country to drive more carefully during the long Easter holiday weekend, which sees a large part of South Africa’s population traverse all around the country to travel, attend Easter celebrations, or visit loved ones.

Zion Christian Church, which was established in the 1900s, is one of the largest Christian denominations in Africa. The group boasts 7 million members across the African continent, with its Easter event dubbed as the largest Christian Easter gathering in South Africa.

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