11 killed in taxi accident

2010-12-17 00:00

ELEVEN people were killed, including a child, when their taxi lost control on the R34 near Utrecht in Northern KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, the KZN Transport Department said.

“The driver lost control and hit a barrier … then the taxi rolled into a river,” said the department’s spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane.

One of the victims was a child between the age of one and two years old.

Ten people died on the scene and one died later in the Utrecht Provincial Hospital, he said.

The taxi was travelling from Gauteng to Nongoma in KZN.

“We have sent a team of investigators to the scene who will be able to give us more information on the cause of the accident and if the people died during the rolling of the taxi or if they drowned.”

Ncalane said the department was concerned since this was the second accident on the same road, after an accident last week claimed the lives of eight people.

“We need to see if today’s [yesterday] accident was weather related or if alcohol was involved or if it is the road,” he said.

 The accident happened after the government announced that at least 170 people had died on SA roads in the first two weeks of December.

Among the dead were 49 drivers, 79 passengers and 42 pedestrians.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson Ashref Ismail said one of the causes was poor road conditions and bad weather.

“Motorists are advised to extend their ‘following distance’ to give allowance for three or more vehicles in front to avoid road traffic crashes.

“We encourage all road users to report bad driving at 086 140 0800,” said Ismail.

Spokesperson for N3 Toll Concession Andy Visser said the number of vehicles entering KZN from Gauteng increased significantly yesterday morning. She said 1 600 vehicle drove through Mooi River Toll Plaza between 9 am and 10 am.

“This is a significant number since the beginning of the festive season. But we expect the figure to drop to about 1 000 in the next two to three hours.

“This shows that most drivers left Johannesburg at about 4 am in order to be in KwaZulu-Natal during the daylight,” she said.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said Mariannhill Toll Plaza recorded about 2 000 vehicle in one hour on the N3’s Durban-bound route yesterday morning. She said the toll plaza also recorded about 1 300 vehicle in one hour on the northbound.

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