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Double-decker bus crash kills 24 in South Africa

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Twenty-four people were killed in South Africa on Friday when a double-decker bus carrying a church group crashed in a mountainous pass near Cape Town.

Rescue teams had to use a crane to lift the bus and cut away bodywork to extract victims trapped in the overturned wreckage in the Hex River pass.

"Twenty-three died on the scene and one person on the way to hospital," said Faiza Steyn, Western Cape health spokeswoman.

Two of the dead were children. Forty-five injured people were taken to hospital.

The bus veered off the road 140 kilometres (87 miles) from Cape Town and landed on its side, said provincial traffic services head Kenny Africa.

"A lot of the passengers were trapped under the bus, we had to use a huge crane to lift the bus to get the passengers out underneath," he told AFP.

"He collided with the mountainside so they had to cut some of the body parts of the bus to free the people that were trapped inside," he added.

Braking problems appeared to have caused the accident.

The driver had tried to stop the bus by entering a sandy, slowing lane.

But this failed and he lost control, with the bus landing on its side against the mountain.

The bus was bringing people back home to Cape Town's township of Khayelitsha from a church gathering in eastern Mpumalanga.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130315/double-decker-bus-crash-kills-24-south-africa