Two killed in road infernos

2010-04-21 00:00

FIREFIGHTERS battled fires that engulfed trucks, a tanker and light vehicles involved in collisions in two dramatic road accidents that claimed the lives of two drivers on the N3 yesterday morning.

The accidents happened near Mariannhill toll plaza at about 7.45 am and near Balgowan at about 12.30 am. Both drivers were burnt beyond recognition.

After the Mariannhill accident, flames engulfed a tanker transporting fuel from Durban.

Thick black smoke spewed from the tanker, and the flattened shell of a small vehicle, which had been completely burnt, could be seen.

A helicopter was called to the scene to airlift the victims to hospital.

Jeff Wicks of Netcare 911 said a light motor vehicle bound for Durban struck a piece of retreaded tyre that flicked up and smashed the windscreen.

“The driver reduced speed dramatically and the driver of an articulated truck travelling behind her, carrying a load of tyre rims, had to swerve to avoid the car.

“The truck mounted the median and ploughed into oncoming traffic, passing over a car, and slamming into a petrol tanker bound for Pietermaritzburg. On colliding, fuel spilled out of the tanker and all three vehicles caught alight,” said Wicks.

He said the driver of the car was killed and the body burnt beyond recognition.

The driver of the articulated truck was critically injured, with multiple fractures and severe burns to his face and torso.

He was stabilised before being airlifted to hospital.

The driver of the tanker was not injured.

Wicks said burning petrol spilled into a storm drain and caused a fire in a gully near the roadside, causing plumes of black smoke to soar above the wreckage.

Traffic in the area was diverted to the M13.

The accident in Balgowan left a truck driver burnt beyond recognition after the driver of an oncoming truck travelling towards Durban lost control and veered into the opposite lane and collided with a truck travelling towards Gauteng.

“The Johannesburg-bound truck then veered from the road and came to rest at the foot of an embankment before catching fire,” said Wicks.

The driver of the truck was killed and his body was burnt beyond recognition.”

He said the other truck driver sustained serious injuries and was taken to a Pietermaritzburg hospital.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Andrew Layman said he was concerned that the tanker accident affected Pietermaritzburg and Durban businesspeople travelling for meetings in both cities.

 

 

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