Highway carnage on the N3

2014-10-09 00:00

THE horror N3 smash that claimed the life of a truck driver and left several others badly injured yesterday morning may have been caused by failed brakes.

An out-of-control water tanker careened through an existing accident scene after “the brakes stopped working”.

This is according to the driver’s wife, who emerged from the accident unscathed.

The woman, who refused to give her name, told police at the scene her husband had made “every effort” to negotiate past the scene, but that his brakes failed. “The brakes stopped working and then we hit into the other truck,” she said.

The crash, which closed the N3 in both directions for hours, comes at the beginning of “Transport Month”, an initiative aimed at curbing the thousands of road deaths annually in South Africa. The collision also came just a day after Transport MEC Willies Mchunu unveiled a sign on Field’s Hill nearby, after last year’s bloody truck crash that saw 24 people killed.

The water tanker had come to rest at the foot of a steep embankment; its driver flung from it while it trundled down the hill.

He was seriously injured and was hauled to safety by ER24 Paramedics and Police Search and Rescue officers.

His tanker left a trail of destruction in its wake, forcing the closure of the freeway for hours while recovery personnel salvaged wrecked trucks and cars.

Motorists, who had been stuck in the jam for an hour or more, were eventually allowed through, but both carriageways were again closed at 3 pm to allow for the removal of the water tanker.

The truck driver who was killed in the initial accident has been identified as Jabulani Mchunu.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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