Truck driver and thousands of chicks killed in crash

2014-10-08 00:00

A TRUCK carrying 40 000 newly hatched chicks overturned yesterday, killing the driver and thousands of chicks.

The Keystone Hatchery vehicle crashed into the roadside barrier and then the boundary wall of a house on Old Howick Road.

An emergency services source at the scene said they responded in minutes but were unable to save the driver.

“He was still alive when we got to the scene. He was strapped in [by the seat belt] under the [overturned] vehicle. I asked him if he was okay, and he was responsive,” said the source.

The SAPS Search and Rescue team worked with a jack to pry the driver out from under the truck, but he had died by the time they had freed him.

Keystone Hatchery staff at the scene said they had known the driver. “It’s really tragic. We spoke to him this morning. I actually passed him on the way down Old Howick Road, and suddenly we were called and told he was involved in an accident,” said one staffer who would not be named.

The owner of the house, Rosemary Scott, said she had appealed to the uMngeni Municipality for five years to put up warning signs ahead of the sharp bend after falling victim to many cars crashing into her wall.

“The last letter I wrote to the municipality said, “I hope you don’t leave this until somebody dies’, which is exactly what happened,” she said.

Keystone staff said the driver had been in his early 30s and had been driving for the hatchery for five years. He was well-liked by his colleagues.

A witness to the accident, Rachel Lee, a Pretoria student on holiday, said she had saved some of the chicks.

“I was driving up the hill as it happened. The community has been working for two hours fetching and carrying chicks. Most of them are dying of shock, but some we were able to save.”

uMngeni SPCA staff arrived minutes after being alerted to the overturned truck.

“We sent out four staff immediately and were able to save a lot of chicks,” said Dudu Abrahams.

Keystone staff said they were able to save 15 000 chicks from the wreck. Badly injured chicks were euthanased on scene.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said that matter was by being investigated.

In another accident yesterday, a truck driver was seriously injured when his truck overturned on the N3 southbound.

Over 50 trucks lined the slow lane from the Hilton off-ramp through to the Peter Brown off-ramp as cars and trucks fought for space in the single open lane next to the wreckage.

The overturned truck lay across the fast lane on the Durban-bound side, while its container spilled over into the fast lane on the Johannesburg-bound side.

Meanwhile, a pedestrian had to have a leg amputated at the scene of an accident in which he was hit by a truck.

The accident, on the Ohrtmann Road bridge in the early evening, caused massive congestion as only one lane was open while paramedics attended to the man.

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