‘I thought that was it, this is death’: cou­ple es­cape as car is crushed by trucks

The Witness - - NEWS - CHELSEA PIETERSE • chelsea.pieterse@wit­ness.co.za

“I THOUGHT I was go­ing to die.”

Th­ese are the words of a Pi­eter­mar­itzburg woman after she and her part­ner mirac­u­lously es­caped se­ri­ous in­jury in a ter­ri­fy­ing car crash this week.

The cou­ple say they are lucky to be alive after their car was sand­wiched be­tween two trucks on the N3 near the Mer­rivale off­ramp on Wed­nes­day.

Londiwe Mncwabe, the chief li­brary as­sis­tant at the De­part­ment of Arts and Cul­ture, and Phum­lani Nx­ele, a fi­nance of­fi­cer at Trea­sury, had just driven onto the N3 from How­ick when a truck crashed into the back of their car, push­ing them into an­other truck driv­ing in front of them.

Nx­ele, who was driv­ing, said they were ap­proach­ing the road works on the N3 where only one lane was open when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred.

“I was driv­ing be­hind a truck, one that usu­ally car­ries cars but was emp­ ty,” said Nx­ele.

“Be­hind me was a Suzuki and be­hind that car was a white van.

“We were ap­proach­ing the sin­gle lane when all of a sud­den, the van over­took us and the truck.

“I looked in the rearview mir­ror and saw a truck hit the Suzuki, which hit the bumper of our car be­fore it spun out to the side.

“Then all of a sud­den the truck crashed into us and pushed us into the other truck in front of us.”

Nx­ele said the car was lifted up off the ground and slid to the side when the truck be­hind them con­tin­ued driv­ing. “He stopped just be­hind the other truck,” he said.

Mncwabe said she had seen the truck speed­ing up be­hind them and knew they would be pushed into the truck in front of their car.

“I just thought, ‘I am dy­ing’,” said Mncwabe. “I saw the truck in the rearview mir­ror and then there was a bang and I thought that was it, this is death.” Mncwabe said when the truck crashed into them, ev­ery­thing turned up­side­down. “My feet ended up on the dash­board, I don’t know how.

“My doek and shoes came off and I could see the ground un­til the car landed,” she said. “I thought we were go­ing to die.” Mncwabe said when the car landed, she heard Nx­ele call­ing out, “Baby, are you alive?”

“I said yes and that I just wanted to get out of the car.”

Nx­ele said the en­tire back of their car was crushed and when he sent the pho­tos of the car to fam­ily, they did not be­lieve he came out of the crash un­harmed.

Mncwabe hurt her back dur­ing the crash, but it was a mi­nor in­jury.

Nx­ele said he usu­ally gave his lit­tle brother a lift to school but had not done so that morn­ing.

“When I saw the back of the car and thought of my lit­tle brother, I just wanted to start cry­ing.

“God was def­i­nitely with us.”

PHO­TOS: ER24

The wreck­age of Londiwe Mncwabe’s car after she and her part­ner were sand­wiched be­tween two trucks in a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent on the N3 near Mer­rivale on Wed­nes­day morn­ing. Paramedics who were nearby were quickly on the scene.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Pi­eter­mar­itzburg cou­ple Londiwe Mncwabe and Phum­lani Nx­ele say they are lucky to be alive after the car they were trav­el­ling in was sand­wiched be­tween trucks on the N3.

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