Grader crashes into house, kills toddler

2013-02-06 13:11
Members of the police rescue unit retrieve the body of a 3-year-old boy who was killed when a grader crashed into his house. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

Members of the police rescue unit retrieve the body of a 3-year-old boy who was killed when a grader crashed into his house. (Jonathan Burton, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - It was supposed to have been just another ordinary day in Edendale. Shortly before 07:30 on Tuesday, Wandile Ngcobo, 3, was having a bath in his father’s room. His cousins and other members of the household in Tafuleni Road, Snathing, also geared up for the day.

Minutes later a runaway grader smashed into the modest home and Wandile lay dead in the rubble.

Four other occupants, including his dad, Sandile Ngcobo, his uncle’s girlfriend Hlengiwe Mdlalose and Wandile’s two cousins, Anele, 2, and Alondwe, 3, Mdlalose, were injured.

A fifth person, the 71-year-old grader driver, B. Sibisi, was also critically injured. The five were admitted to Edendale Hospital.

Crushed body

At the scene, rescue workers and paramedics battled to remove Wandile’s crushed body as relatives and neighbours watched in horror.

Almost four hours later, two policemen emerged from the destroyed home, clutching two bags containing his remains.

Later on Tuesday, only Sibisi and Anele remained in hospital.

Wandile’s grandmother, Melta Ngubane, supported by other members of the family and neighbours, was inconsolable. Wandile’s mother was not present, as she studies in Port Shepstone.

Wandile’s uncle, Wiseman Sibongiseni Kunene, who had been asleep in the house at the time of the crash, stood outside the destroyed part of the home in shock.

A prison warder in New Hanover, he had survived without a scratch.

“There were six of us in the house when the incident occurred and I was in the bedroom at the time,” he told The Witness.

Kunene had heard a loud bang at about 07:30 and then children crying for help.

“When I opened the door, I saw that half of the house had been completely destroyed. There were already neighbours helping the children and my brother Sandile, who were stuck in the rubble.”

Third accident at house

It was the third time that there had been an accident at the house and it was now time to relocate, Kunene said.

“The first was a car crash. Then it was a kombi. In both these accidents the house was narrowly missed and now this.”

Kunene said that he was convinced that Tafuleni Road was a death trap, because of speeding motorists.

His view was echoed by Helen Mkhize, whose home was also damaged, after one of the grader’s wheels came loose and bounded through her wall.

Mkhize said that she was outside her house completing her morning chores, when she heard a noise from her neighbour’s home.

“In seconds, I heard a crashing sound inside my house and when I went to check, I saw a big wheel inside my dining room.”

Mkhize said she did know how she was going to fix or replace the furniture that was destroyed, but this was nothing compared to the pain she felt for her neighbours, who lost a little boy.

It was the worst accident she had ever seen.

“We have been complaining about the speeding motorists on this sharp curve because we wanted to avoid tragedies like this from occurring,” she said.

Mkhize said she hoped something would finally be done to promote road safety in the area.

“We need the municipality to put speed humps, so that cars are forced to slow down on Tafuleni Road,” she added.

She also hoped that she and her neighbours would receive help from the municipality to rebuild their homes.

Other witnesses, including a Amakholwa High School pupil, described how they watched in horror.

The pupil said Sibisi had not jumped out of the grader, but had tried to control it.

“We were so scared because we thought it was going to kill us and I could not even go to school after witnessing such a tragic accident,” said the pupil, who asked not to be named for fear of getting into trouble at school.

Mechanical problems

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the driver had experienced mechanical problems.

A case of culpable homicide was being investigated.

Police on the scene said the grader’s prop shaft had broken, leading to brake failure.

The grader belonged to Deeplauls Transport and Plant Hire, a service provider contracted by Msunduzi Municipality to upgrade the road.

The owner, Kushal Deeplauls, said while the tyres were worn out, the accident was caused by a broken prop shaft.

“I have given the police the maintenance report, which indicates that the prop shaft was re-manufactured and redone six months ago,” Deeplauls said.

Expressing condolences, Deeplauls said that his company was looking for alternative accommodation in the area to house the affected family.

“We are not taking the blame for what happened, but out of compassion, we feel the need to help them during this difficult period.”

Msunduzi mayor Chris Ndlela, who arrived at the scene to support the family, expressed concern about the spate of similar accidents in the past few weeks.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accidents
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
14 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.