A double-decker bus was ablaze on Tuesday evening after three petrol bombs were thrown at the vehicle. Two men died in the bus fire in Cape Town, while 32 others, including two children, were injured, some seriously.
So far the motive for the attack and resulting bus fire in Cape Town is unknown, but according to police, murder and attempted murder cases have been opened. Police spokesman Noloyiso Rwexana told the media that at least three petrol bombs were thrown at the bus.
— Eyewitness News (@ewnupdates) September 16, 2015
The Intercape bus was traveling to the Eastern Cape on the Onverwacht Road in the Strand just outside of Cape Town and stopped at a nearby garage to collect more passengers.
At least three petrol bombs were hurled at the bus, and by the time emergency services arrived on the scene, it was too late to save the two men who had already burned to death.
Speaking of the bus fire in Cape Town, Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson, Theo Layne, said, “There was no protest in the area. The driver said it was a petrol bomb. It was a double decker and the entire bus burnt out.”
— Leigh-Anne Jansen (@LA_JANSEN) September 15, 2015
IOL quotes ER24 medical care spokesperson, Werner Vermaak, as saying 32 people were injured, some seriously.
“Numerous people were standing around the bus and some were being cared for by locals from a nearby informal settlement. Emergency services joined forces to set up a local triage area.”
“Four people sustained serious injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals. Twenty-eight others were treated for minor to moderate smoke inhalation and burn wounds.”
According to Vermaak, the bus company Intercape has confirmed that one of its coaches were petrol-bombed in Strand, outside Cape Town. While the incident is being investigated, no motive for the “horrendous attack” has been found.
— ER24CapeTown (@ER24CapeTown) September 15, 2015
While Intercape bus drivers have been on strike since the beginning of August, there was no unrest in the area at the time of the petrol bombing incident and bus fire in Cape Town.
The strike by Intercape bus drivers was reportedly launched to demand that the company reinstate hostesses, who had been retrenched, meaning that drivers had to do double duty, both driving the bus and giving service to the passengers.
Speaking of the strike, National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Likhona Cita said they would be surprised if any of its members were responsible for the bus fire in Cape Town, as they were already on the brink of ending the strike.
An Intercape company spokesman said in a statement, “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this shocking incident.”
Residents in the area were shocked by the bus fire in Cape Town with one resident, Sizeke Ntsholo saying, “Two women ran into my house screaming they were burnt. I covered one of them with a blanket and called the ambulance.”
“Other people ran around and didn’t know where they were going.”
Another witness, JJ Maxeke said, “People were screaming and jumping out of the windows of the bus. People also broke windows to escape.”
Another resident Victor Luhwali said that as soon as he heard sirens, he rushed to the area and saw many emergency vehicles including ambulances and fire engines. However it was too late as the bus was “completely gutted.”
Another resident in the area, Paulina Mnukwana, told Eyewitness News about seeing the bus ablaze, moments after making its final pickup before leaving Cape Town. She said she tried desperately to rescue people trapped in the bus fire.
“I saw this old lady, she was on top… and at that time I wish I had wings, so that I could fly and rescue her, because I could see she was walking with a stick. She was also trying to get up, because she was older but we couldn’t do anything because it was too late at that time.”
Brett Herron, acting mayor of Cape Town said: “We grieve with the families of the deceased during this time of loss. We condemn this criminal act in the strongest terms.”
“I would like to appeal to residents to come forward should they have any related information which could lead to the arrest of those responsible for this criminal act.”
“We would like to thank the emergency services and the South African Police Service for their swift action and appeal to them to work tirelessly until those responsible are arrested and prosecuted.”
According to police, investigations are ongoing in an attempt to find the perpetrators of the petrol bomb attack and resulting bus fire in Cape Town.
[Image: Courtesy ER24]