I WAS in that line of cars as we watched the horror unfold leaving me staring in disbelief and sorry for the souls that had been called to rest. My work colleague and I were telling a few jokes while driving on the N3 heading to Pietermaritzburg to complete our day’s work. There was a white Toyota Tazz behind us. It was the only vehicle behind us as we followed a truck coming down Townhill just after the Peter Brown off-ramp.
I recall looking to my left as I saw this tanker correct itself as the driver squeezed past the truck and our vehicle. I saw him fly past us and clip the Bob Cat. A few sparks flew and within a few milliseconds he rammed into some machinery which hurled him towards the centre barrier. Before we could even react, we saw flames and a huge explosion. Our vehicle stood there as we watched the flames engulf the area. I then realised there was nothing we could do but turn around and drive in the opposite direction to take the Peter Brown off-ramp. At the top of the ramp, we heard three explosions go off. I prayed under my breath and soon realised how lucky we were to escape death.
Call the driver a hero for not ploughing through our cars and quite clearly he tried to avoid all disaster but he could not stop from smashing into the machinery. I pray for those lives that where lost. The horse and trailer that we had been following was the closest to the fire. He only backed up well after the explosions, quite clearly traumatised, as he saw the tanker driver losing control and exploding in front of him.