27 March ’85
This site is dedicated to the 42 children who lost their lives on this tragic day, the men, women and children who worked frantically to save every possible life and also to family and friends who lost loved ones. It also serves as a reminder to public safety departments all around the world to be ever-prepared for the worst.
27 March 1985
On 27 March 1985, a yellow double-decker bus transporting school children from the Vorentoe High School, left the road as it was crossing over the bridge of the Westdene Dam in Johannesburg. 30 Children swam to safety or were rescued from the rooftop of the bus. 42 Children died.
The Westdene Bus Disaster was very traumatic for everyone involved, directly and indirectly. There are some survivors who still refuse to talk about that dreadful day. There are also reports of suicides in the months and years following the tragedy.
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Nurses and police officers join bystanders as they wait for the bus to be lifted from the water.
A mass funeral ceremony was held at the Johannesburg Westpark Cemetery on 1 April 1985. Hundreds of friends and family members gathered to say goodbye…
Boeta Rousseau helping at the Westdene Bus Disaster (second from right). His daughter Alice was not on the bus that day but normally would have been. So many "angels" helped that day. In loving memory of all the kids and my Uncle 'Boeta". By Mary Gous Also in the...
This is an overall view of the scene at the Westdene Dam. Rescuers standing in the water on the roof of the submerged bus. Around 30 children were rescued from or swam to safety from the roof of the bus.
Fire fighters from nearby fire stations formed a guard of honour at the funeral.
Thirty-five of the victims of the Westdene Bus Disaster were buried in the Heroes Acre of the Johannesburg Westpark Cemetery on 1 April 1985 during a mass funeral ceremony.