Melton students in South African hospital 'for a week'

image caption, The students were due to fly back to the UK on Friday

Students badly injured in a bus crash in South Africa which claimed the lives of three people are expected to stay in hospital for at least a week.

Eleanor Payne, 19, from Hinckley, Samantha Lake, 19, and Daniel Greenwood, 22, both from Syston in Leicestershire, died in the crash.

Two passengers remain in intensive care at the Nelspruit Medical Clinic.

Spokesman Robin Baar said 11 students were being treated at the hospital and added some may be there for 10 days.

Tributes have continued to be paid to the three students who died when the bus they were travelling veered off the road, on Thursday morning.

In the statement, Ms Payne's father Robert, mother Linda, sister Lauren and partner Ashley said: "Words cannot express our tragic loss.

"Eleanor was a very popular girl. She was full of life, bubbly and absolutely beautiful.

"She was very mature for her age and always kept us going. She always had a way of turning a horrible situation into a funny one. She was our rock."

The six survivors who have already been discharged from hospital left the hotel in a minibus and did not want to speak to the waiting media.

Their South African tour guide, Trevor Dearlove, 65, who was also on the bus when it overturned, left with them.

He said simply: "We've had a tough time."

Mr Dearlove added that he had been to the mortuary with members of the British consular team earlier on Friday to identify the bodies.

The group are due to fly from Nelspruit to Johannesburg and then back to the UK.

Earlier they received a visit from the High Commissioner at their hotel.

A police investigation has begun into how the vehicle came off the road and overturned near Nelspruit in the north-eastern Mpumalanga province on Thursday.

The Zimbabwean driver voluntarily attended a police station. A case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are investigating whether to bring charges against him.

Ms Lake and Ms Payne died at the scene on the Bulembu Road. Mr Greenwood died in hospital later.

Alan Jordan, 69, a neighbour of Daniel Greenwood, said the 22-year-old was a "nice lad" who would "always say hello".

The students, aged 18 to 22, were studying for a foundation degree in animal management and welfare. They had been on a wildlife study tour in the region.

Their tourist bus was travelling on the road from Swaziland to visit a monkey sanctuary when the accident happened.

Brenda Greaves told the BBC she had spoken to her daughter Rachel, 20, who was on the bus.

Mrs Greaves said: "She's got some abdominal pains, for which she's had an X-ray, but everything seems to be clear.

"She was wearing a seatbelt, she says she was the only one wearing a seatbelt - I'm not sure if that's the case - but it seems as if the seatbelt sort of caused the pain.

"She said that they were going round a very nasty bend and the driver just lost control and that the bus just toppled over - she didn't really know any more than that."

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