Two die in N3 collision chaos

2011-02-04 00:00

THE southbound lane of the N3 north of Pietermaritzburg was temporarily closed yesterday after four trucks were involved in two serious collisions.

Two men were killed and two men sustained minor injuries after a collision involving two trucks on the N3 before the Tweedie offramp yesterday morning.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said paramedics arrived on the scene to find two trucks in the left-hand lane

The first truck, whose cabin had been badly damaged, had caught fire and was being doused by the fire department.

"The second truck was found about 10 metres behind with extensive wreckage strewn along the emergency lane," Banks said.

He said a person was found dead near the back wheel of the second truck.

"The second patient was found close by and in a critical condition.

"He had suffered massive traumatic injuries and needed advanced life support intervention. Unfortunately the patient died on the scene due to the injuries he had sustained," said Banks.

He said both men are believed to have been ejected from the first truck on impact.

Two other patients, both men, sustained minor injuries after jumping from the first truck.

They were taken to Northdale Hospital for a general medical check up.

All four patients were travelling in the first truck that caught fire, added Banks.

Banks said it is believed the collision occurred after the driver of the first truck, experiencing mechanical problems, tried to avoid a stationary truck in front of him.

The truck had come to a halt because of a traffic backlog caused by a previous accident further along the N3.

"The truck driver came across into the emergency lane, but the front part of the cabin caught the back end of the stationary truck, causing it to rip open.

"The impact caused the cabin to disintegrate and it caught alight," he said.

The earlier accident on the N3 near Tweedie has left a truck driver fighting for his life.

Chris Botha, a spokesperson for Netcare911, said the driver lost control and the truck overturned and went down an embankment with a load of carbide.

The driver was injured and, after medics from EMRS stabilised him on scene, he was taken to a nearby hospital for further care.

"His truck, however, caught fire and soon after was totally engulfed in flames,"said Botha.

"While emergency personnel were on scene, a secondary accident occurred.

"An 18-wheeler came hurtling down the road and slammed into the rear of another truck that was slowing down," said Botha.

He said the driver of the second truck sustained traumatic injuries to his lower limbs and was in a critical condition when Netcare911 paramedics arrived.

The N3 southbound was closed until the scene was cleared.

Two Road Traffic Inspectorate officers, who were the first to respond to the accident, were taken to St Annes Hospital after inhaling chemical fumes from the damaged truck.

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