Westdene Bus Disaster

We all have a responsibility towards the children who died on 27 March 1985, to help maintain an ability to effectively deal with the unthinkable...

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.

Rescuers standing on the roof of the bus

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.

Mass funeral for the Westdene Bus Disaster victims

The Survivors

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.

Westdene Memories

These photos represent actual posts. Click on the photo to read more and then click on it again to see a larger version. Feel free to comment on them as this will help us know more about the photos.

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

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…

A heavy load to bear

A heavy load to bear

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...

The Westdene Dam

The Westdene Dam

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.

Guard of Honour

Guard of Honour

Fire fighters from nearby fire stations formed a guard of honour at the funeral.

Mass Funeral Ceremony

Mass Funeral Ceremony

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.

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