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.

Removing the Bus

Removing the Bus

Two cranes were used to lift the bus from the water. Damage caused by fire fighters using the jaws-of-life can be seen.

Triage and CPR

Triage and CPR

Attempts to resuscitate Tanya Pieters with her father (brown shirt) looking on. She was taken to hospital by helicopter but passed away at 6pm the same evening (source: Belinda Kleynhans, sister).

Scene of the accident

Scene of the accident

Scenes of chaos as rescuers stand on the roof of the submerged bus, shocked bystanders looking on...

A lost cause

A lost cause

Doctors, nurses and paramedics working frantically to resuscitate some of the young victims...

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