Six schoolchildren die in bakkie crash as driver rolls on bend

2012-08-22 00:00

TWO fatal accidents on KwaZulu-Natal’s roads have so far claimed 11 lives in the past two days.

Six children and the driver were killed when the bakkie they were travelling in lost control and overturned on the R617 between Bulwer and Underberg late yesterday afternoon.

ER24’s Derrick Banks said: “When emergency personnel arrived on the scene they found a bakkie had rolled numerous times with passengers strewn across the embankment.”

A bakkie driver was ferrying 19 children from Donnybrook and Blessed Luanda primary schools when he lost control of the vehicle.

A source at the scene said that it was misty and dark in the area when the accident happened.

Of the 19 learners, 13 were taken to various hospitals with injuries.

The Department of Transport spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said that according to eyewitnesses, the driver was trying to overtake on a sharp bend.

He said all the pupils are believed to be under the age of 15.

“These bakkies are built for loads, not people. There is a challenge that needs to be addressed about children and people in rural areas being transported on the back of bakkies on roads that are uneven and bumpy. There are discussions, even at national level, currently taking place regarding this.

“We are hoping to find a solution so we can start providing transport for learners,” Ncalane said.

Regarding the accident, he said they would be investigating issues of speeding, overloading, and the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

Banks said that some patients had already been taken to a nearby clinic before emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

“ER24 paramedics went to the clinic to make sure those patients were in a stable condition.

“Patients from the scene and the clinic were stabilised and transported to various hospitals in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas for further medical care,” he said.

Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said the incident once again confirms that road accidents are depriving people of the future generation of young people who can take this country forward.

“It is heartbreaking to lose such young people in a road accident.

“However, as the department of transport, we will continue to intensify our road safety campaigns.

“We urge all motorists to adhere to the rule of law,” Mchunu said.

This accident follows another one that occurred on Monday evening where four people were killed, one of them an infant.

The accident happened on the Stanger/Greytown Road near Kranskop when a car collided with a truck.

Police arrived on the scene and found four bodies with multiple injuries in the car. They were identified as Sikhosiphe Nxumalo (30), Amanda Brown (20), Nkosiyazi Chamane (29) and Lusanda Brown (4 months).

“A fifth seriously injured person was found in the car, and was transported to a hospital near Kranskop together with the driver of the truck,” said police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane.

Police believe that the car, an Opel Kadett, was entering the R74 main road when it collided with the truck.

Zwane said police were investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident.

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