Westdene dam disaster

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The Westdene dam disaster was a bus accident that took place in Westdene, near Johannesburg, South Africa, on 27 March 1985.

The accident[edit]

The driver of a double decker bus lost control and the bus crashed through barriers into the Westdene dam, about three miles from the centre of Johannesburg. A witness said it appeared a tire blew out, sending the bus swerving into another vehicle before it smashed through a fence and plunged into the reservoir. The bus was transporting students from the local high school (Hoërskool Vorentoe[1]).

About 3,000 people, including dozens of tearful parents, gathered near the scene as doctors and nurses battled to revive children pulled from the submerged bus. Police said 39 students drowned in the bus and two died later in hospital. Children traveling in another bus said some students trapped on the upper deck managed to break windows and swim to safety. [1]


The driver, Willem Horne, could not remember what had happened and was acquitted.


The following children lost their lives in the disaster:

  • Blignaut, Anna
  • Botha, Anne-Lize
  • Botha, Henrietta
  • Brown, Caroline
  • Coetzee, Denise
  • Dreyer, Hendrik
  • Du Plooy, Linda
  • Du Plooy, Reinette
  • Du Toit, Francois
  • Els, Jacobus
  • Erasmus, Karen
  • Fritz, Francina
  • Horn, Adriana
  • Hurwitz, Jacqueline
  • Jacobs, Anel
  • Jooste, Lelanie
  • Kleinhans, Adre
  • Koen, Petrus
  • Kruger, Clasina
  • Kruger, Maria
  • Lira, Riaan
  • Ludick, Madeleine
  • Mans, Cornelius
  • Marshall, Elmarie
  • Marx, Conrad
  • McLaughlin, Belinda
  • Meyer, Catharina
  • Miles, Mary-Ann
  • Morris, Anna
  • Ouwenkamp, Albertus
  • Pieters, Tanya
  • Pretorius, Connie
  • Pretorius, Elizabeth
  • Rautenbach, Thelma
  • Reynders, Hester
  • Strydom, Charl
  • Swanepoel, Vinette
  • Swart, Andries
  • Van Der Westhuizen, Petrus
  • Van Heerden, Elsa
  • Van Tonder, Anna
  • Venter, Deon


  1. ^ a b "SOUTH AFRICAN CRASH KILLS 41 JOHANNESBURG". The New York Times. 28 March 1985. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°10′45″S 27°59′28″E / 26.17917°S 27.99111°E / -26.17917; 27.99111