Driver crushed in plunging truck

2010-06-10 00:00

A DRIVER of a horse and trailer was crushed to death when the main body of his truck was smashed by its two trailers in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning.

The incident happened at the T-junction of Table Mountain Road and the R614, towards Wartburg, outside the city at about 11 am.

The truck driver lost control, going off the road and crushing trees and fences for over 300 metres. The truck finally came to a stop after plunging into a deep ditch in thick forest. It was not clear how the accident happened as the deceased was alone in the truck.

Traffic officers, firefighters and onlookers at the scene were shocked by the accident. They suspect that the driver might have had a heart attack.

“He might have suffered a heart attack because there are no signs that he tried to apply brakes. He did not even try to swerve to avoid falling into the ditch. He also had time to jump out, but he did not,” one onlooker said.

The truck, which is believed to belong to a logistics company in Durban, was transporting sugar to Wartburg. Two security guards were posted to guard the goods on the truck.

A Msunduzi Municipality Fire and Disaster Management firefighter said it took about four hours to free the driver.

“We arrived here at about 11.30 am, but we only got the body out of the truck now [after 3 pm],” said the firefighter.

Netcare 911 paramedics also participated in getting the driver out of the wreck.

“The cab of the truck landed on the ground first and was completely crushed by its cargo. The driver was killed and his body trapped in the mangled confines of the cab.

“Firefighters and Netcare 911 paramedics used hydraulic rescue equipment to cut the man free in a lengthy recovery operation,” said Netcare911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said it was suspected that the driver had failed to take the corner.

She said there were a number of other serious road accidents, which happened throughout the province.

“One of them happened in Newcastle, in which a panel van driver was killed and his passenger critically injured when their vehicle was involved in a head- on collision with a tanker.”

Mngomezulu blamed the accident on wet weather and negligent driving.

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