Teen’s death on N2 sparks online fury
WESTERN Cape tourism MEC Alan Winde has sent his condolences to the family of Marya Tankaria, the British teenager who died after apparently leaping out of a fast-moving vehicle on the N2 highway near Mossel Bay.
“I can’t imagine what the Tankaria family must be going through right now. Losing your daughter while you’re both miles apart is a terrible thought,” said Winde.
Police spokeswoman Bernadine Steyn said the 18-year-old Briton had been picked up by a Johannesburg driver at a garage in Mossel Bay on Tuesday and was to have been dropped off at Sedgefield, where she had been living for a year.
“According to the driver, who is South African, the Birmingham girl suddenly jumped from the silver VW Caddy along the N2 highway. She sustained multiple injuries and died on the scene.”
Steyn said the driver was questioned at the scene and was very “traumatised” by the incident. The car had been travelling at “high speed”.
“We are investigating a case of culpable homicide. We will also investigate whether there were any criminal features to the incident.”
The driver of the vehicle has not been arrested.
After the news of Tankaria’s death was reported in the British press this week, locals and foreigners flooded the London Daily Mail’s website with comments.
Some slammed the state of security in South Africa, especially mentioning the country’s high rape statistics, and others raised concerns about the local police’s “lack of performance”.
One local reader wrote: “Foreigners, wake up. We have the highest rape and murder rate in the world.”
In the middle of last year Interpol announced that South Africa had the highest rape rate and the second highest murder rate in the world.
But Winde slammed the responses as disrespectful, and said he was sure the incident would not affect relations between Britain and South Africa.
“We have a healthy relationship with the UK. There is no country in the world which has no extraordinary incidents.
“This is a painful time for the girl’s family and there shouldn’t be vulgar statements made while her relatives are still coming to terms with the ordeal.”
The provincial tourism department said Tankaria’s family had been contacted and it was possible they would fly to South Africa soon.
An autopsy to determine the exact cause of her death will be conducted next week.
TRAGIC: Teenager Marya Tankaria, pictured here on a Facebook site.