Tragic end to night out

2008-10-26 00:00

WHAT began as a festive night celebrating the Sharks’ victory over the Blue Bulls on Saturday ended in tragedy after four young people, including two local matric pupils, died in a horror accident on the N3 in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Friends of the two pupils — one of them the St Charles College headboy, Samukele Khumalo — were already in mourning yesterday for their classmates, who were about to start their matric exams on Wednesday.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram asked that the names of the deceased not be published as not all their families had been informed yesterday.

A policeman said the Ford Bantam bakkie with no canopy was crammed to capacity with people on the back and in front, 12 altogether, believed to be between the ages of 17 and 25.

The driver apparently lost control of the vehicle while travelling on the N3 northbound near Market Road at around 1.45 am, after another vehicle blocked him in the fast lane. He swerved to the right, hitting a ditch, which caused the vehicle to overturn, throwing out all the passengers.

Police said three young women died on impact. Two were in their early twenties. The third is believed to have been a school girl.

Khumalo died in Northdale Hospital later. Two others were admitted to Grey’s Hospital with serious injuries and another two remain in MediClinic.

The driver was unhurt and the other injured youngsters have reportedly been discharged from hospital.

Police stressed that the driver, who is from Pinetown, was not under the influence of alcohol. He was tested at the scene and was found to be sober. However, The Witness understands that the bakkie, belonging to the driver’s parents, may have been unroadworthy and did not have matching tyres.

The 12 youngsters are believed to have gone to the Currie Cup final in Durban, after which they drove to Mooi River, where they were going to spend the night. However, they then decided to come back to Pietermaritzburg to attend a graduation party. But they first went back to Durban to fetch people who needed a lift to Pietermaritzburg. That seems to have been when the accident occurred.

A matron at Grey’s Hospital confirmed that two of the injured are being treated there.

Another two are in Medi-Clinic, where their conditions were described as stable yesterday.

By yesterday afternoon, two Facebook groups had already been set up expressing messages of sorrow for Khumalo, the St Charles headboy. “In memory of a great headboy, son, brother and friend. Your legacy shall live forever. May you Rest in Peace,” read one tribute.

The school published the news of his death on their website.

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