Bakkie, loaded taxi in horror N3 crash

2015-12-21 10:03
Pieces of metal ripped from the taxi involved in a collision on the N3 near Ohrtmann Road.

Pieces of metal ripped from the taxi involved in a collision on the N3 near Ohrtmann Road. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Three people died in a horror accident on the N3 near the Ohrtmann Road bridge on Sunday afternoon after a bakkie in the southbound lane swerved across the median, slamming into a taxi full of people travelling in the opposite direction.

Miraculously 15 people in the taxi, which was compressed and twisted to the point where it bore little resemblance to a vehicle, suffered only minor injuries. Another two were more seriously injured, one critically. Both occupants of the bakkie and one taxi passenger were killed.

A truck driver who was parked on the side of the road for a rest, said he awoke to the sound of the crash, which missed his vehicle by a few metres. He, along with community members at the scene, rushed to help the injured, pulling them out of the squashed taxi.

“I just heard this loud bang and saw the taxi flipping over. I ran out and I could hear people crying inside. I saw a little child and I put my hands inside and pulled the child out,” the truck driver said.

A pink hat, a bottle of women’s body lotion, a cellphone charger and a suitcase were just some of the passengers’ personal belongings amongst the twisted debris from the wreckage.

It is believed the bakkie was coming from the Ladysmith area and the taxi from Durban.

The Msunduzi fire department and the police search and rescue unit worked frantically to try and free those trapped in the wreckage as paramedics and members of the public comforted weeping injured passengers, amongst them a small frightened child. As the police accident unit began their investigation at the scene, traffic in the closed northbound lane had built up to an extent that some drivers were making dangerous u-turns to try and escape the gridlock.

Paramedics worked frantically amid shattered glass and pieces of metal from the wreckage, tending to bloodied passengers before hurrying them into different ambulances.

Some onlookers, clasping their hands around their mouths in shock, said they had “never seen such a bad accident” and expressed their sadness at what had happened so close to Christmas.

One woman prayed while others shook their heads at the devastation.

In another crash, nine people were injured, one seriously, when a taxi overturned on Edendale Road near Henley Dam.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crash  |  accident

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