Horror crash kills 14

Driver al­legedly drunk as taxi crashes into truck on South Coast

Weekend Witness - - News - THAM­SANQA MAGUBANE and MHLABUNZIMA MEMELA

A HORROR minibus ac­ci­dent claimed at least 14 lives in the Umko­maas area yes­ter­day when a taxi — whose driver is sus­pected to have been drunk — crashed into a sta­tion­ary truck.

The taxi was trav­el­ling from Umko­maas to Madapeni when the driver lost con­trol, crashed into a gate and then hit the trailer of the large sta­tion­ary truck.

Netcare 911 spokesper­son Santi Stein­man said 14 peo­ple were killed, two crit­i­cally in­jured, one sus­tained se­ri­ous in­juries and one mod­er­ate in­juries.

One of the in­jured was placed on life sup­port be­fore be­ing air­lifted to hos­pi­tal.

Trans­port Depart­ment spokesper­son Kwanele Ncalane said the driver was ar­rested as he tested pos­i­tive for al­co­hol.

Dis­crep­an­cies about where one of the ve­hi­cles was is­sued with a road­wor­thy cer­tifi­cate were also be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

KwaZulu­Natal EMS spokesper­ son Robert McKen­zie said the hor­rific ac­ci­dent oc­curred at around 2.30 pm. “It ap­pears that the taxi came down the hill and col­lided with a sta­tion­ary truck near the Sappi gate,” he said.

Sappi Saic­cor spokesper­son Zelda Sch­wal­bach said the speed­ing taxi col­lided with the truck in­side their premises.

“But we are not sure yet about whether any of the oc­cu­pants were em­ployed by the com­pany,” she said.

Sch­wal­bach said the truck be­longed to a con­trac­tor.

By 4 pm, 90 min­utes af­ter the ac­ci­dent, some of the bod­ies were still trapped in­side the ve­hi­cle.

Christo Ven­ter of ER24 said one of their paramedics de­scribed the scene as the worst they’d ever seen.

The ac­ci­dent was the sec­ond mass ca­su­alty crash yes­ter­day.

In Lim­popo, 11 peo­ple were killed when a bus over­took on a bar­rier line and hit a car at about 2 am.

Five of the dead were trav­el­ling in the car while the other six were in the bus.

Some of those killed were from Zim­babwe, au­thor­i­ties said.

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