Five dead, three injured in four-truck pile-up

2013-02-01 00:00

FIVE people died and three others were slightly injured when four trucks were involved in a massive collision on the N3 Johannesburg-bound near Berg-ville in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokes­person, Zinhle ­Mngome-

zulu told The Witness that three trucks crashed into each other from the rear at about 3 am.

After a short while there was a “secondary accident” on the same spot.

Mngomezulu said that while the three trucks that had collided were stationary, another truck, suspected to have been speeding, hit the stationary trucks.

Five passengers in the speeding truck — a woman and four men — were killed.

The driver was taken to Ladysmith provincial hospital.

The truck was carrying plastic containers and was travelling from Durban towards Johannesburg.

Mngomezulu said it was suspected that the truck driver had given a lift to hitchhikers because “one truck cannot transport so many people”.

She said the road was closed for five hours.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said the five who died were trapped in the front of the cabin and were declared dead on the scene.

Their bodies were extricated from the wreckage and three other people from another truck who had sustained minor injuries were taken to the hospital.

Mngomezulu said the place where the accident happened was dangerous and motorists often drove too fast there.

“Motorists drive at a high speed and there are not many traffic officers around at that time,” she added.

She said motorists tended to comply with the rules of the road only when they saw traffic officers. Most accidents were caused by driver error rather than mechanical faults like brake failure or tyre blow-outs, she added.

Willies Mchunu, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, expressed his shock and concern after the accident.

“We are worried that since the beginning of the year, we [are] experiencing unprecedented deaths on our roads.

“Just last week, we were at Sweetwaters in Pietermaritzburg after a car crash that claimed seven lives. Also two weeks ago we were at Ulundi-Okhukho where eight people were killed on their way to Johannesburg … five people were killed on the M4 in Durban early this week and now this accident that has claimed five lives.”

Mchunu said he was concerned about the number of fatalities on the roads. He urged motorists to be extra careful and to slow down near accident scenes.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said Ladysmith police were investigating a case of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving.

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