DOZENS of students have been rushed to hospital after a bus slammed into a truck and flipped off a motorway during a school trip.
The bus carrying 27 schoolgirls, four adults and the driver plunged 50 metres down a hill in the horror crash outside Melbourne in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
All 32 people on board were rushed to hospital, with one teenage girl said to be fighting for her life after being airlifted from the scene.
The truck driver was also seriously injured and taken to hospital.
Harrowing pictures showed the students’ suitcases and belongings strewn across the hill as emergency services worked at the crash site.
The mum of one of the schoolgirls told 9News the “trip of a lifetime” to the space camp had been cancelled last year due to Covid.
Cops have urged parents to stay away and call the local police station for the latest updates.
The Melbourne-bound lanes of the motorway are expected to remain shut for several hours and motorists are urged to avoid the area.
Cops are investigating the cause of the crash and witnesses have been asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The tragedy happened in the Pongola area – around 300 kilometres north of Durban – on Friday afternoon.
Horrifying dashcam footage showed the moment the lorry overtook another truck on the two-lane highway before ploughing into the minibus full of schoolkids.
According to local media reports, the minibus tried to swerve out of the way of the oncoming lorry before it was crushed by the vehicle.
Authorities said 19 children – aged between five and 12 – died in the crash, along with three adults.
The kids were said to have been on their way home from school at the time.
The lorry driver fled the scene, but cops arrested him on Saturday after he handed himself in.
Regional transport minister Sipho Hlomuka said: “The death of so many young lives is a serious tragedy.”
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