ROAD DEATHS REACH GRIM NUMBERS
35 killed, 66 injured across SA
THE NEW Year’s weekend brought with it carnage as at least 35 people were killed and 66 injured across the country in just four days.
In one of the more serious collisions just outside Carletonville yesterday, an off-duty traffic official was killed and three others were seriously injured when their car overturned on the N12 near the Fochville intersection.
According to ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak, all four women were thrown from the vehicle when it overturned.
“One of the women was found with fatal injuries on the scene. Sadly, there was nothing paramedics could do for her and she was declared dead on the scene.”
Vermaak explained that another woman was found with critical injuries and an emergency helicopter was called to the scene. “She was later airlifted to a hospital in Joburg. The other two women sustained serious injuries.”
On New Year’s Day, two ambulance crew members were killed in a collision outside Bloemfontein, while the patient they were transporting remained in serious but stable condition.
Reuben Ruiters, spokesperson for Free State Provincial Emergency Management Services (EMS), said it was believed the ambulance overturned and rolled.
The cause was still being investigated by police.
Also on Sunday, eight people burnt to death and five others were left seriously injured in a collision in Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni.
Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said reports from the scene indicated that a taxi and a car collided head-on before bursting into flames.
“Paramedics and the fire department arrived at the scene and found that both vehicles were engulfed in flames, with the occupants still trapped in the wreckages.
“After the firefighters extinguished the flames, it was found that several people had died in the blaze, while others escaped with injuries ranging from serious to minor,” he said.
On New Year’s Eve, 10 people, including three children, were injured in a collision in the Durban CBD, while eight people were killed and at least 10 others injured over the 24 hours prior to the start of the new year.
A hit-and-run on New Year’s Eve left one person dead in Diepsloot, north of Joburg, while another person was killed in a pedestrian-related collision in Randburg.
In another incident, Limpopo traffic authorities pulled over a heavily overloaded vehicle travelling from Zimbabwe to Joburg.
According to Limpopo Transport Department spokesperson Joshua Kwapa, the vehicle was carrying 31 people, 14 of whom were illegal immigrants. “We are shocked and are taking this matter very seriously.
“The vehicle is only supposed to carry 15 people and there was double the amount inside.”
Kwapa added that Home Affairs had been called to detain those who were undocumented.
The driver, who hails from Zimbabwe, was arrested and is facing charges of reckless and negligent driving as well as overloading a vehicle.
Meanwhile, Joburg traffic authorities are bracing themselves for a busy few days as holidaymakers head back to the city.
Spokesperson for the Joburg metro police department Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said they were apprehensive about the influx.
“It’s a very big concern because from December 1 until just before Christmas we saw a sharp increase in road deaths – it went up 17 percent – so we are worried about what could happen with motorists as they return,” he said.
Minnaar added the JMPD had arrested at least 1 300 drunk drivers across the city during the festive season, but only a handful on New Year’s Eve.