Lone Survivor of South Africa Bus Accident to Leave Hospital Soon

The 8-year-old lone survivor of a bus catastrophe in South Africa that killed at least 45 people before Easter weekend will be released from the hospital on Wednesday, according to health officials.

Atlang Siako is anticipated to fly to her home in neighboring Botswana, from whence the bus left on March 28 for an annual Easter pilgrimage attended by hundreds of thousands of Zion Christian Church members.

The bus careened off a bridge at Mokopane hamlet in the northern province of Limpopo, plummeted more than 150 feet (50 meters), and caught fire as it impacted the rocks below, killing the driver and all passengers save Siako.

Health officials are still working to identify the burned remains of those killed in the catastrophe. Officials say at least eight bodies have been recognized, and tests are being conducted to identify the remaining ones.

Limpopo province Health Minister Phophi Ramathuba told reporters on Wednesday that physicians were satisfied with Siako’s condition and that she may return to Botswana.

“She is in a position where we can now release her to her home because at the same time the psychological impact of being away from home does have an impact on the total, complete healing,” she said.

“We want her to recover totally, but she’s fine. “She is still in a lot of pain, but we are pleased with her condition,” she stated.

Ramathuba said that at least 35 remains had been recovered from the location, and officials were working to identify them so that they could be sent to Botswana.

The Botswana government has declared that national memorial services will be held across the country for the deaths.

“The decision to hold a nationwide memorial service was taken in recognition of the fact that the tragedy of losing 45 lives all at once in a single incident would have affected not only the families and relatives of the victims, but the entire nation,” the Botswana President’s office said in a statement.

“It is a national tragedy,” the statement continued.

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