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19 children and two adults killed in South Africa after truck collides with car carrying students

19 children and two adults killed in South Africa after truck collides with car carrying students

Nineteen children and two adults were killed in South Africa after a truck collided head-on with a pickup truck carrying students from local schools Friday, according to the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department.

The accident took place in Pongola in eastern South Africa on national route N2 after a truck driver sped and overtook another vehicle on a double barrier line, “clearly violating all possible traffic regulations,” the department said on Facebook, describing circulating video of the incident.

The truck collided head-on with a Toyota Hilux pickup truck, killing 19 students from four local schools and two adults, including the driver, officials said. It is unclear how many people were in the car and whether there were any survivors.

The students were ages 5 to 12, according to news24, a local online news website.

The truck driver, who initially fled, turned himself in to authorities Saturday after police launched a manhunt. He will appear in Pongola Magistrate Court on Monday and faces charges of culpable homicide and negligent driving, the Transport Department said.

“We extend our deepest condolences, to the families of the deceased,” Sipho Hlomuka, a member of the executive council for transport community safety and liaison, said in a statement. “We are deeply disturbed by this fatal accident. The death of so many young lives is too painful.”

Angry community members torched a truck and threw stones at other vehicles on the N2 route Friday, the Transport Department said.

“The police and members of the South African Defense Force are currently monitoring the situation in the area,” the department said on Facebook.

A KwaZulu-Natal government delegation is expected to visit the families of the victims and the four affected schools, as well as attend the truck driver’s court proceedings Monday. The delegation includes representatives from the national Transport Department, the provincial government, the Road Accident Fund, the Road Traffic Management Corp., South African Police Services and the Road Traffic Inspectorate.

Mirna Alsharif is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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