‘49-vehicle pile-up was like a tsunami,’ says witness

2014-10-15 00:00

THE scene of a multi-vehicle accident near Alberton just south of Johannesburg yesterday morning was like a war zone.

Four people were killed and dozens injured in the accident that involved 49 vehicles.

Paramedics were kept on the run treating bleeding victims who lay scattered across the N12 highway, surrounded by wreckage and personal belongings.

One man compared the accident to a tsunami, saying he watched in his rearview mirror as a truck ploughed over cars behind him.

The accident unfolded at 8.45 am.

Eyewitness Johnson Makwena said the truck was going very fast.

“He didn’t slow down at all. The truck hit the cars next to it and in front of it.

“We saw cars being crushed like cooldrink cans. The truck rode straight over some of the cars.

“Our bakkie luckily swerved off the road and ended up in a ditch next to the highway,” he said.

Embrose Wilson was also caught up in the mayhem.

“I heard the brakes and then a loud bang. Immediately, there was dark smoke from one of the cars that caught alight. After the bang, there were a few seconds of complete silence, but it seemed like a lifetime,” he said.

Brett Michaels said there wasn’t time to escape.

“I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the truck hit the first cars. It looked like a tsunami was going to hit me. Cars were driving over each other and rolling. The truck was headed straight for me, but I couldn’t get away,” he said.

“I felt faint. The car behind me hit me. Everything happened so fast. I’m just glad I walked away with slight injuries.”

Virgil Standler (46) was one of those killed. His father, Robert Standler, said it was a huge shock.

“I saw him before he left for work. My heart is sore, but I’m grateful for the years God lent him to us,” he said.

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