Inferno on N3 as tanker explodes

2016-04-26 12:16
The N3 near Townhill was closed to traffic after a petrol tanker crashed and exploded, killing two people.

The N3 near Townhill was closed to traffic after a petrol tanker crashed and exploded, killing two people. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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

Video

WATCH: Video shows KZN truck fire that killed two

2016-04-26 11:57

Two people were killed and at least seven others injured when a truck collided with construction vehicles, and caught fire, on the N3 near the Peter Brown off-ramp in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.WATCH

Pietermaritzburg - Two people were killed, two were badly burnt and five, including a policeman, were injured after a petrol tanker crashed and exploded on the N3 at Townhill on Monday afternoon.

Both carriageways of the N3 freeway were closed to traffic after the tanker apparently crashed into a 13-ton surface milling machine near a construction site on the freeway, before slamming into the barrier wall.

Emergency services personnel at the scene said it was too soon to determine the cause of the accident. However, an eyewitness, Kimara Pillay, said the tanker hit the barrier wall and “picked up into the air”.

“It looked like it was going to tip over but then we heard the explosion,” said Pillay.

One construction worker was severely burnt and police later found another body in the exploded tanker.

Pillay, travelling from Johannesburg toward Durban, said she was still shaking from shock after the explosion.

“The tanker was about five cars before me and the driver suddenly cut across the lanes. When he did that I saw the tanker wobbling and I said to my boyfriend that it looked as if the truck’s brakes had failed,” said Pillay.

She said she saw the tanker “wipe out” a machine working on the side of the road before exploding.

“We stopped the car immediately and thank God the vehicles behind us stopped in time too. We all just turned around and drove away from the explosion,” she said.

Pillay said she felt the vibrations of the first explosion and then three other explosions followed shortly afterwards.

“We turned the car around and drove up towards the oncoming traffic. We tried to warn others not to continue down the road. It was extremely scary and the fire was bigger than I have ever seen,” Pillay said.

One of the workers driving the surface milling machine said he was cleaning the road when he felt the impact.

“My machine wasn’t facing the tanker. I just felt the impact and then heard the explosion and I was thrown off the machine not knowing what was going on,” said the construction worker, who did not reveal his name.

ER24 spokesperson Paul Knoesen said their teams treated two patients who suffered second-degree burns over more than 90% of their bodies. “We sedated the two patients and put them on ventilators at the scene. They were taken to the Hilton Life Hospital,” said Knoesen.

Two more construction workers were treated for serious injuries. One had a fractured leg and the other severe burns on his back.

“There were two other patients with minor injuries and they were taken to the Medi-Clinic hospital,” Knoesen said.

It is believed a police vehicle was also involved in the collision further down the freeway and an officer suffered severe burns to his body.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzbrug  |  fire  |  explosion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
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.