Western Cape bus crash officer testifies

2013-03-26 16:56
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Cape Town - A bus was travelling down a Western Cape Pass in its highest gear before it crashed and killed 23 people in 2010, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

Investigating officer Warrant Officer Dirk van Dyk was called to the scene, took notes and called in a specialist from Mercedes-Benz to investigate the bus.

He was testifying in the sentencing of Sisa Nonama, 41, who last year pleaded guilty to 23 counts of culpable homicide.

Prosecutor Willem Tarantaal asked Van Dyk what the speed limit was at the top of the Hex River Pass, near De Doorns.

"For heavy vehicles it's 60km/h and for other vehicles, 80km/h," he said.

"The vehicle has got six gears and it was in the highest gear. There is a sign that says heavy vehicles must stay in the lowest gear and in the slow lane."

Nonama was driving a bus from Leeu-Gamka to Cape Town in May 2010, in the early hours of the morning. Van Dyk said the bus had been carrying 76 passengers.

"It's common cause that on the news, there was an accident a week ago on the same pass, also involving a bus?" asked Tarantaal.

The officer confirmed the accident. The prosecutor was referring to a bus crash on March 15 in which 24 people were killed and several others injured. The double-decker bus veered off the N1 at the bottom of the pass.

Nonama's lawyer Wimpie Strauss asked what the signage at the top of the pass looked like. Van Dyk replied that the sign indicated no heavy trucks were allowed in the right lane.

"You and I would understand that as no heavy vehicles (including buses) in the right lane," the officer said.
Read more on:    cape town  |  accidents

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