Driver was breastfeeding before crash
Hilda Fourie, Beeld
Johannesburg - An entire family were killed on Thursday morning when the mother - apparently breastfeeding her 1-year-old daughter while driving the car - collided with a bus.
A passenger in the bus lost both her legs when she was flung through the windshield.
Paramedics removed baby Miné's body from the breast of her mother Eunice Franklin,29, in the driver's seat of the family’s car.
Toddler Bradley, 3, who was sitting in the front passenger seat without a seatbelt, was decapitated.
The father, Mark, 39, was sitting in the back seat.
A family member, Alta de Villiers, said it is "God’s mercy" that the whole family died together "because Eunice would never have been able to live without her children.
"Mark was so dependent on his wife and children." She said the family had heard that Eunice was breastfeeding Miné while driving, but she believes that "with that impact, it wouldn’t have made a difference. They would have died in any case."
It was not clear where the family was going at 05:30 on Thursday morning when the accident happened in the Leeuwkloof valley near Pretoria.
Police spokesperson Johannes Jaftha said the bus had 31 passengers on board.
Aside from the woman who lost her legs, the others suffered minor injuries.
"The driver of the car lost control and swerved into the oncoming traffic," Jaftha said.
The car and the bus both crashed into a bank after the head-on collision. Eyewitnesses told Jaftha the bus had been en route to Pretoria.
Ashref Ismail, a spokesperson for the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), said the scene reduced him to tears.
When the accident happened Ismail and traffic officers were busy checking Putco buses in an operation about 20km away on the infamous Moloto Road.
Of the 60 Putco buses checked in two hours, 22 were not roadworthy, he said.
He said the accident was the eighth in 15 days on the collision- prone road, in which 75 people have been killed.
"About 90% of these accidents were because of human error," Ismail said.
"We can check every vehicle and every bus, but we can’t be in every vehicle. Every driver must begin taking responsibility for himself."