Con­do­lence to fam­i­lies after hor­ror N1 head-on col­li­sion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI sakhile.ndlazi@inl.co.za

CON­DO­LENCES have poured in from all over the coun­try fol­low­ing the hor­rific ac­ci­dent on the N1 near Ham­man­skraal on Satur­day af­ter­noon in which 16 peo­ple died, in­clud­ing six chil­dren un­der the age of 10.

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma also ex­pressed his heart­felt con­do­lences dur­ing the ANC’s birth­day bash at Or­lando Sta­dium yes­ter­day, say­ing the coun­try’s hearts went out to the af­fected fam­i­lies.

The col­li­sion oc­curred on the N1 South, be­tween Mur­ray­hill and Ham­man­skraal, north of Pre­to­ria, when a bakkie and a taxi col­lided. Only two pas­sen­gers from the taxi sur­vived the ac­ci­dent. One was still in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion and the other had mod­er­ate in­juries. Both were taken to hos­pi­tals in the area, said Ath­lenda Mathe of the Net­care 911.

It ap­peared that the driver of an Isuzu LDV bakkie, which had been trav­el­ling north­bound, lost con­trol and veered over the cen­tre me­dian into on­com­ing traf­fic. The bakkie then col­lided with a fully loaded Toy­ota minibus taxi.

Liam Clarke, com­mer­cial man­ager for Bak­wena Plat­inum Cor­ri­dor Con­ces­sion­aire, stated that ini­tial re­ports sug­gested the minibus was trav­el­ling south to Joburg, and the Isuzu in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. “It seems that the driver of the Isuzu lost con­trol and crossed the me­dian into the on­com­ing traf­fic,” said Clarke.

Paramedics found that 13 of the taxi’s pas­sen­gers, as well as both driv­ers, had al­ready died of their in­juries and were trapped in the man­gled ve­hi­cles.

An off-duty doc­tor had be­gun re­sus­ci­ta­tion at­tempts on one pa­tient, but the pa­tient was later de­clared dead on the scene. Fif­teen of the fa­tal­i­ties were from the minibus and one from the bakkie.

The City of Tsh­wane fire depart­ment used the “jaws of life” to cut the bod­ies from the ve­hi­cles.

Gaut­eng Pre­mier David Makhura called on mo­torists to ex­er­cise ex­tra care on the roads as the province ex­pe­ri­enced rainy weather.

“I would like to ex­tend heart­felt con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those who passed on dur­ing the tragic ac­ci­dents on our roads and a speedy re­cov­ery to those who were in­jured,” Makhura said.

Road Ac­ci­dent Fund (RAF) chief ex­ec­u­tive Dr Eu­gene Wat­son also sent his con­do­lences.

“Par­tic­u­larly tragic was the need­less death of six chil­dren in the ac­ci­dent. That this has oc­curred on the eve of the 2017 school year is most dev­as­tat­ing.

“We will do ev­ery­thing to en­sure we ease the emo­tional and fi­nan­cial bur­den for the sur­vivors and fam­i­lies dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time. Our Pre­to­ria re­gional of­fice will work along­side the po­lice and hos­pi­tals to ver­ify the iden­ti­ties of the de­ceased in or­der to be­gin pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary sup­port,” said Wat­son.

RAF per­son­nel would meet with fam­ily mem­bers as soon as pos­si­ble in or­der to ar­range funeral sup­port for those who qual­i­fied and met the re­quired cri­te­ria.

Con­sul­ta­tions would con­tinue with the griev­ing fam­i­lies after the fu­ner­als to orig­i­nate claims for loss of sup­port for any sur­viv­ing de­pen­dants, and qual­i­fy­ing heads of dam­ages for the in­jured as stip­u­lated in the RAF Act.

AFTERMATH: 16 peo­ple died in a hor­rific ac­ci­dent on the N1 near Ham­man­skraal on Satur­day when a taxi and a bakkie col­lided head-on.

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