Removing the bus from the Westdene Dam

by | Dec 11, 2012 | Westdene Memories | 9 comments

Nurses and police officers join bystanders as they wait for the bus to be lifted from the water.

 

9 Comments

  1. NIGEL HENNINGS

    The first responders were the unsung heroes with no photos, no interviews, just do our job. My crew was the best and sadly we will never get over it, goodness knows about the poor families

    Good bless all of you, think of you every day!

    Reply
    • Irene

      My father was the photographer on scene. He is seen standing on the bridge with his camera! Capt Nico Paizes. Until this day that accident was one of the worst he has ever been to. And an investigation that will haunt him!!

      Reply
      • Admin

        Hi Irene. Perhaps you can circle him for me on a screenshot so I can see where he is. Unfortunately I don’t have a larger resolution photo of that scene.

        Reply
  2. Estelle

    At the beginning of 1985 I was in standard 7 – I left Vorentoe at the beginning of the year to go to another school. Many of my friends were on that bus. The strange thing was that on that day I was visiting a friend’s mother at the JG Strydom (Helen Joseph) hospital and I could see the bus in the water and what was going on from a window at the hospital. I can never think about the horror of that day and the horror of the kids that survived without crying. At the school I attended we cancelled all festivities that were planned before the break in memory of the Vorentoe disaster. I don’t live in JHB anymore – I use to visit their gravesites often – and I attended one memorial service. Every time I passed Westpark I would think of that horror. Some of my friends are buried there. So many parents and survivors were broken forever. If I am correct there were even suicides after. Some families lost all their kids.

    The first message we heard was a bus from Vorentoe drove into the Westdene dam. We did not think much of it until we realised what really happened.

    Driving over the Westdene bridge I would think of them. I remember that there were reefs on the dam at times.

    As I write this know I am in tears. I wish our country will remember this event every year – remember everyone that suffered a loss.

    The horror of it all is still too much to think of.

    My thoughts are still with the survivors and families of these kids that were lost.

    I will never forget – I have told my son about it and talk about it with him every year.

    May God bless you.

    Reply
  3. T-Jané Mofokeng

    I’ve always seen their memorial stones at Westpark Cemetary and asked my mom but she didn’t have alot of knowledge about it since she was born in 1981. In 2018 , Grade 9 at UJMA, my Afrikaans teacher Mrs. Booysen told me about the incident and she broke into tears and everyone was left heartbroken.
    Let their souls RIP???

    Reply
  4. Frik Visagie

    Ek kan nie dink dat dit al sowaar so lank gelede plaasgevind het nie. Ek was ‘n onderwyser by Brixton Primary en ons was (soos elke ander doodgewone middag) besig om met die seuns sokker te oefen toe die eerste helikopter oor die skool gevlieg het.Alles wat daarna gebeur het voel soos ‘n rillerverhaal wat deur iemand anders geskryf was. Alhoewel ons nie self betrokke was by enige van die gebeure nie kan ek nog onthou hoe die berigte oor die TV en in die koerante ons almal laat regop sit het. Ek is in daardie selfde jaar getroud en my vrou was ook ‘n oudleerling van Vorentoe. Van my kant af wil ek net vir al die familielede en gesinne sowel as maats wat betrokke was se dat alhoewel alles op daardie dag onherroeplik verander het dat ek hoop dat daar berusting in elkeen se gemoed gekom het. Mag die tragedie wat plaasgevind het ter syde gestel word en mag almal wat gesterf het se beste herinneringe voortleef. Mag elkeen se nagedagtenis kosbaar wees.

    Reply
    • Peet Fourie

      Ek is Peet Fourie nou 62 jaar en het my pragtige vrou vandag vertel van die ongeluk en is weer in trane, sy is net 33jaar oud en in trane saam met my. Ek was een van die eerste mense in die dam en het gesien en beleef wat n mens nie wil beleef nie. Ek kon net 3 gered het want binne sekondes het die water verander in n skool sardiens met mense.
      Jy moes red en jy het gehuil geskreeu. N dag wat niemand ooit wil beleef nie. Ek wil net vir die ouers se, ek wou met alles in my so graag nog 42 wou red en is so jammer ek kon nie dit reg kry nie. Die mense wat daar was ek was die lang gat man wat al sy klere uit geruk het en net met my onderbroek in en uit die water was en mense vas gegryp het en saam met hulle geskree en gehuil het toe ons nie 100 persent sukses vol kon wees nie. My trane hardloop nou nog baie vir die famielies en weereens sterkte vir almal. Lief julle almal baie. Peet

      Reply
      • Elize Venter

        Baie dankie Peet vir alles wat jy vir ons gedoen het. Dis mense soos jy wat wel n verskil gemaak het, onthou dit altyd. Ons sal hul altyd mis en onthou.

        Reply
        • Marion

          Dankie. Almal wat ‘n verskil gemaak het… dankie…

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