Deadly school bridge collapse in South Africa

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Deadly school bridge collapse in South Africa

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Medical staff at Driehoek High School, where three pupils were killed by a collapsing bridge

Tributes are pouring in for three pupils killed by a collapsing bridge at a school in South Africa.

The structure gave way just after morning assembly at Driehoek High School in Vanderbijlpark, 70km (43m) south of Johannesburg.

Another 23 pupils are injured, and officials say five are critical.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the collapse, while messages of support are being posted with the hashtag HöerskoolDriehook.

  • South Africa country profile

On Friday morning Panyaza Lesufi, provincial education minister for the Gauteng area, confirmed the deaths.

Skip Twitter post by @Lesufi

Tragedy: Moments ago a walkway collapsed at Höerskool Driehoek, Sedibeng Region. Sadly ? three (3) learners died on the scene and scores are still trapped in the rubble. I am on my way to the scene. #HöerskoolDriehook

— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @Lesufi

Since the collapse, people have been posting heartfelt tributes to social media – including South African TV presenter Andile Ncube.

Skip Twitter post by @AndileNcube

Universe! your children need you??#HöerskoolDriehook https://t.co/U3ocV6XGxl

— Andile Ncube (@AndileNcube) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @AndileNcube

Driehoek High School, which has 1,060 pupils, is now closed indefinitely while officials investigate the scene.

Family members and people from the community reportedly gathered together to form a prayer circle in the school grounds.

Skip Twitter post by @Slindelo_M

#LearnerDeaths parents gathered inside #HoërskoolDriehoek holding a prayer session. Classes have been cancelled for the day. pic.twitter.com/T3YH8UQj4S

— silindelo masikane (@Slindelo_M) February 1, 2019

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End of Twitter post by @Slindelo_M

Mr Lesufi told a press conference that the school was working on identifying the three pupils who had died, and was in the process of notifying their next of kin.

Four of the injured pupils, thought to be aged between 13 and 18, had to be airlifted to the hospital for emergency medical treatment.

Two boys and one girl were killed, Mr Lesufi added.

There were pupils both on top of and underneath the bridge when it collapsed. Those who need it will be offered trauma counselling.

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