Runaway truck kills five

2013-02-22 00:00

NANA Mthembu saw five of her neighbours and colleagues killed by a runaway truck yesterday morning.

The incident happened at Appelsbosch bus stop on the Tongaat main road, where a crowd of people were waiting for transport to work.

Appelsbosch is near Harburg, north of Durban.

A visibly shaken Mthembu said the Spar delivery truck mowed down her neighbours just a few minutes after they had called on her to join them on the other side of the road.

“It was around 6 am … I was standing alone and my neighbours asked me why. I said I was basking in the sun. By then I saw the truck approaching and thought I’d wait for it to pass and then cross the road.”

In a split second, the truck went off the road and through the crowd, crashing down the bank and landing in a taxi rank.

“It happened so fast we could not even scream for them to run away.

“There was mayhem, a loud bang caused by the truck, people screaming everywhere. I still cannot believe what I witnessed,” Mthembu said.

She was too traumatised to go to work, thinking how easily she could have been killed.

The truck driver and his passenger survived.

A street vendor, Thule Mhlongo, a single mother, was one of the deceased. She was selling vetkoek, fish and chips to commuters.

Mthembu said she would miss Mhlongo’s smile and her food.

Thabile Gwala was one of the first people on the scene.

She said she saw body parts strewn all over the place.

“Some of the people were trapped under the wreckage and people tried to help them, but it was too late.

“This was a horrific accident so early in the morning,” Gwala said.

While the police were trying to secure the scene, bystanders grabbed cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter and chocolates that had spilled from the truck.

Rob Philipson, of Spar, said the management were waiting for the investigation to be finalised before commenting.

He said: “Our truck is regularly serviced so commenting on this accident will be premature at his stage.

“We will be helping the families with funeral arrangements.”

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said a culpable homicide case was being investigated.

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