Driver saves passengers

2013-03-20 00:00

TAXI driver Ndumiso Zondi received hugs from his passengers after his reflexes ensured they all escaped unscathed from an accident involving nine vehicles yesterday.

Zondi (35) was on his regular morning trip, taking Homes Affairs Department staff to New Hanover, past Copesville along the R33 (New Greytown Road), when a bakkie travelling ahead of him veered out of control.

His passengers braced themselves for the worst, but were too terrified to scream. Zondi swerved as he watched the out-of-control bakkie crash into other vehicles ahead of him.

His taxi tangled with the bakkie, but Zondi managed to avoid the worst of the collision and all his passengers got off safely.

“I noticed the tyre burst on the bakkie. Then it collided with other traffic and then our taxi as I was swerving off the road. I don’t know how I managed to save our lives,” he said.

Passenger Xolani Ngema was in shock after the accident.

“It happened very quickly. We could not even scream as we were scared and shocked at what was happening to us. After the taxi stopped, we all realised that we were safe and got out. We cried and hugged the driver for saving our lives,” he said.

Other motorists and passengers were not so lucky.

Twenty people were injured and taken to hospitals in the city following the pile-up involving two taxis, two cars and five bakkies.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said four people sustained serious injuries.

The accidents led to the closure of the road for about two hours in morning rush-hour traffic, which was rerouted through Raisethorpe.

Local resident Sibusiso Dube said he heard bangs as the vehicles crashed into one another.

He called for speed humps to be installed in the area.

Taxi owner Nkosinathi Malimela agreed that speed-calming measures were necessary on that stretch of road.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said preliminary investigations indicated that a bakkie travelling towards Greytown had a tyre blow-out.

She said a case of reckless and/or negligent driving was being investigated.

In September 2011, a taxi collided with a truck near the scene of yesterday’s accident, claiming 15 lives. Taxi driver Khululeka Gwala was charged with murder. He goes on trial in the high court in May.

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