ROAD DEATHS REACH GRIM NUM­BERS

35 killed, 66 in­jured across SA

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - ILANIT CHERNICK ilanit.chernick@inl.co.za @Lanc_02

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.

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