DNA tests to ID Belfast crash victims
Masoka Dube and Eric Mashaba
Mbombela - DNA test results are expected to be released on Monday to help identify victims of a horror crash that claimed 18 lives in Belfast, Mpumalanga.
The accident, involving a minibus taxi overloaded with Mozambican travellers, and a truck, happened at around 04:00 on the N4 on Thursday.
"The DNA results taken from the charred bodies of the victims will be compared with those of their relatives,” said provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi.
Hlathi said the owner of the minibus had submitted a list of 15 names of the victims.
“Some of the relatives have already started to arrive in the country,” he said.
Three taxi passengers were flung out of the taxi before it caught fire, while two babies were believed to be among the charred bodies in the taxi.
On Thursday, Mozambique's Consul to Mpumalanga and Limpopo, Arthur Verissimo, told African Eye News that officials from his office were sent to the scene to investigate.
Mpumalanga community safety, security and liaison department spokesperson Joseph Mabuza said the driver of the taxi, which was heading to Johannesburg, lost control and collided head-on with a truck that was heading towards Mbombela.
"The minibus...veered out of its lane and collided head-on with the truck. The truck dragged the minibus and both vehicles caught fire, burning passengers and both drivers beyond recognition," said Mabuza.
He said the taxi had been overloaded.
“The taxi had 17 people, including the driver, but it was only made to carry 15 people, including the driver,” said Mabuza.