Fans survived this

2010-07-08 00:00

TWO football fans travelling to watch the Germany-Spain World Cup semi-final in Durban survived a horror accident when their vehicle was wrecked by a heavy duty truck on the N3 outside Pietermaritzburg yesterday afternoon.

The couple, who were among three people injured, were travelling in their black VW Golf 2.1 from Johannesburg when the accident occurred near Liberty Midlands Mall at about 1.30 pm.

They were taken to the city’s Medi-Clinic to be treated for injuries.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said they were both stabilised before being taken to hospital.

“The husband was treated for a possible loss of consciousness and the wife for back and neck injuries,” said Banks.

Their vehicle was wrecked after a runaway truck, which had suffered brake failure, crashed into it on the southbound lane just before the Chatterton Road off-ramp.

The truck was travelling in the same direction transporting manganese to Durban. It lost control and struck the couple’s car in the fast lane, pushing it into the northbound lane.

The Golf’s engine disintegrated and landed in the middle of the fast lane metres from the wrecked vehicle.

After hitting the couple’ car, the blue truck, which was pulling two trailers full of manganese, also crossed over to the opposite lane where it crashed into another truck. The second truck, which was transporting pre-mixed tar to Cowan House School in Hilton, crashed over the embankment.

Medi-Clinic spokesperson Reshnee Beekrum said the couple, who are South African nationals, were travelling to watch the match between Germany and Spain in a Durban fan park.

Among their belongings was a Spanish flag.

The driver of the truck that caused the accident, John Skhosana (53), said he was transporting manganese from Kuruman in North West Province. He said he lost control when his brakes failed.

“I first realised that the brakes were no longer working after I had just gone through the arrester bed [on Townhill]. As the truck was rolling down, its speed increased,” said Skhosana.

He said that when he realised he was on the verge of death, he thought of jumping out of the truck.

“But I decided that I should just keep the control of the steering wheel. At the bend [toward Chatterton Road off-ramp] I completely lost control. I pressed a hooter alerting other motorists, who were in front of me, but I hit the Golf before I left for the opposite lane,” he said.

Skhosana, who has been a truck driver since 1992, said his truck only slowed down after it had crashed against the second truck. The rear axle came off.

Manganese ore lay scattered over the northbound carriageway. The accident also caused a major traffic jam, resulting in a lengthy queue of trucks standing stationary for around two hours as workers cleared the scene.

Skhosana’s assistant, Mophethe Moeketsi (29), said that as the truck was rolling down the highway he also contemplated jumping out.

“But I realised that it was going to be too dangerous. I held on to my seat as the truck was crashing into other vehicles.

“I’m still shocked because have I never been in this situation since I started conducting in 2007,” he said.

A senior firefighter with Msunduzi Municipality Fire and Rescue Department, Durwayne Rajah, said the firefighters managed to stop fuel spilling from both trucks.

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