Vigil, anti-truck protest at crash site

2013-09-16 00:00

IT was a day of mixed emotions on Saturday as Durban community members stood at the Field’s Hill accident site holding candles in a vigil, while others held up posters to protest the use of the steep hill by trucks, at the Richmond Road off-ramp.

Hundreds of residents from the Kloof and Pine­town area gathered at the site where a truck ploughed into four taxis and a car, killing 23 people* two weeks earlier.

Ambulances lined the scene once again as paramedics, some of whom were present on the night of the accident, came to pay their respects and show their support with the rest of the community in their efforts to “Ban the Heavies”, from Field’s Hill.

Ryan Mash, a paramedic for five years, was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the accident. On Saturday, he was standing slightly apart from the rest of the crowd, mulling over the tragic event.

“It was carnage. I have never seen anything like it,” said Mash.

Also there to show support for the victims’ families, was 67-year-old Victoria Ntshangase from Empangeni.

“I’m just here today to show my support because it’s our children. I want to talk reality: our children are dying. Let us hold hands,” said Ntshangase.

Other community members voiced their anger that this was not the first bad accident on this road and “nor would it be the last if something was not done to remedy it”.

Pinetown resident Dawn Cumming, who lives a few kilometres from the accident scene, said that accidents on Field’s Hill happen too often, and have been for far too long.

“Every second night, at least, I hear sirens from ambulances,” said Cumming.

The protest, organised by the community via social media, was also attended by ward councillor Tim Brauteseth, who said there are a few solutions that could be put in place to prevent future tragedies such as the Field’s Hill incident.

Brauteseth suggested a weighbridge on Key Ridge road for trucks or putting a toll plaza further up on the M13 and making trucks pay full price, to deter them from using the road, while cars and taxis could pass through without paying.

Flowers were laid down across from the accident site along with lighted candles to pay respect to the victims, the first four of whom were buried on Saturday.

* The 23rd victim died at the weekend.

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