Field’s Hill crash claims 27 lives

2013-09-06 00:00

A RUNAWAY truck ploughed through taxis and cars at the bottom of Field’s Hill last night, killing at least 27 people and leaving several with critical injuries.

Traumatised witnesses told paramedics that the truck went through the intersection at around 7 pm and drove into four fully laden taxis and two cars.

Thirteen ambulances and a disaster management bus were at the scene to take the injured to King Edward VIII, Albert Luthuli and R.K. Khan hospitals.

Twenty-four people died at the scene and three on the way to hospital.

ER24’s Derrick Banks described the carnage as probably one of the worst accidents paramedics had seen.

“We had to call in off-duty paramedics to assist,” he said.

As paramedics attended to the injured, the bodies of the dead were covered in foil, while shoes and clothes were strewn over the road.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said no one service provider could have dealt with the accident — “that’s how big it was”.

ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the majority of victims were flung from their vehicles. “The local fire and rescue services had to use various hydraulic rescue tools to free some of the people trapped in the wreckages.

“Ambulances from numerous services had to return to the scene after dropping off patients at hospitals in order to collect others from the scene.

“Bystanders were flagging paramedics down and pointing in all directions where patients were strewn across the scene,” he said.

Many people made their way to the scene in search of relatives who had not yet reached home.

Sibusiso Mushe, of kwaNdengezi, said his wife Nomchi Gabela usually arrived home at 6.45 pm. Worried when she hadn’t arrived by 7.30 pm, he drove to the scene.

He believed his wife was involved in the crash.

He said he tried to call his wife’s colleague, as they usually travelled together, but the woman was also not answering her cellphone.

Another man cried as he pointed to two bodies covered by foil saying: “I think my sisters are lying there”.

Those who witnessed the accident turned to Twitter to voice their horror and renewed calls for trucks to be banned from the M13.

James Preston (‏@james prest0n) wrote: “South Africa, the time has come! We MUST honour these precious lives by fighting for ALL trucks to be banned from Fields Hill!”

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