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Girl, 8, only survivor as 45 killed in bus crash in South Africa

Forty-five people have died in South Africa after the bus they were in plunged some 50m (165ft) off a bridge into a ravine, authorities say.

An eight-year-old girl, the only survivor, was taken to hospital.

The bus crashed through a barrier and caught fire when it hit the ground in Limpopo province, in the country’s north-east.

The passengers were pilgrims travelling from Botswana’s capital Gaborone to an Easter service in the town of Moria.

The vehicle lost control and travelled off a bridge on the Mma Matlakala mountain pass between Mokopane and Marken, according to South African public broadcaster SABC.

Rescue operations went on late into Thursday evening, with some of those killed reportedly hard to reach amid the debris.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, who went to the scene of the incident, extended her “heartfelt condolences to the families affected by the tragic bus crash”.

She said the South African government would help repatriate the bodies and conduct a full inquiry into the cause of the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time,” she added. “We continue to urge responsible driving at all times with heightened alertness as more people are on our roads this Easter weekend.”

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