Three South African students were killed and 19 were seriously injured on Friday when a walkway collapsed at a high school near Johannesburg, an official said.

“It breaks my heart,” provincial education minister Panyaza Lesufi told reporters after the incident at Hoerskool Driehoek school in Vanderbijlpark, 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Johannesburg.

“We can confirm 26 leaners were affected, with three deceased — two males and one female,” he said, indicating the victims were between the ages of 13 and 18.

Another 19 pupils were seriously injured, while two suffered minor injuries and another two had already been released from hospital.

One teacher told local media that the incident occurred shortly after morning assembly.

Emergency services rushed to scene to rescue pupils trapped in the rubble. The walkway connected the administration block with classrooms.