Runaway bus crashes into two cars

2011-03-08 09:14

Three people were seriously injured yesterday morning when a Putco bus crashed into two cars at an intersection in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, apparently due to brake failure.

The bus came to a stop in a ditch on top of a silver Toyota RunX and a black Audi next to the intersection of the R513, between Cullinan and Pretoria, and Tsamayala road (M10), which links Mamelodi and Refilwe, at about 6am yesterday morning.

A badly shocked father, who was unhurt, and his son, who was slightly injured, were removed from the Audi by emergency workers, while a 29-year-old woman, Sonja Cantein, was in a serious condition after being removed from the Toyota RunX and taken to the Montana hospital.

Her husband, Deon, 41, said his wife’s condition “is not good”.

Flirting with disaster
“Her one lung has sort of collapsed, two of her ribs are broken, one back vertebrae has moved, her one leg has been dislocated and she has wounds to her head,” he said.

“An accident is an accident, but on the scene they said the bus’ brakes wouldn’t work. Now how do you load a bus full of people if the brakes aren’t working? It’s so unnecessary.”

Two bus passengers with serious injuries were taken to the Montana hospital. The bus driver was slightly injured but “badly shocked”.

“It is an absolute miracle that no one was killed,” said police spokesperson Johannes Jafta.

“It was a very ugly scene.”

The accident happened at the same intersection where 150 people were injured after two Putco buses collided on March 2 2009.

In this accident, the bus was coming from KwaMhlanga and apparently didn’t stop.

The bus collided with the RunX, which was heading in a western direction from Cullinan on the R513 and dragged it away.

It then hit the stationary Audi, which wanted to turn from Tsamaya Road on the R513, pushed both cars from the road and landed on top of the cars in a ditch.

Turning to prayer
“I heard how one of the boys shouted that the bus didn’t have brakes and then he ran to the back of the bus,” said bus passenger Bettie Nguni.

“I didn’t get a fright, I just prayed – and then we hit those two cars.”

She said she was grateful because the two cars broke the bus’ speed.

“We just feel very, very bad about the people in those cars who got hurt.”

Nguni claimed that Putco didn’t maintain its buses properly.

Putco spokesperson Raphiri Matsaneng said it was too early to say what had caused the accident.

“We are already conducting an investigation to determine whether a defect on the bus was the cause and whether the bus driver or a third party could be held accountable,” said Matsaneng.

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