Mall wall collapses on family, killing 3

2008-02-03 00:00

Brakpan — Three members of a family, including a Durban teenager, were crushed at the weekend when a seven-metre high exterior wall at The Mall at Carnival in Gauteng apparently gave way during a heavy rainstorm and fell on top of three cars in the parking area.

A woman in a silver Toyota Corolla, identified only by her surname Van Zyl, was trapped under a heap of rubble ˚about 5.30 pm on Saturday, along with her eight-month-old daughter, Lizandré; her teenage son from a previous marriage, Edward Blignaut (13); her mother Elize Botha; and Botha’s grandson, Shaun Botha (14), who is from Durban.

Van Zyl, Elize Botha and Shaun died when the wall collapsed.

Kande Kambambo, a Congolese car guard at the centre, heard a woman screaming and ran to help.

Kambomba told Beeld newspaper at the scene how he desperately combed through rubble to rescue the baby and her stepbrother Edward.

"The lightning was terrible. Then I saw what had happened, ran closer and started digging. I broke off the rear view mirror and managed to open the door. Someone held the baby in the air," Kambombo said.

He grabbed Lizandré and ran to a restaurant about 10 metres away, "pressed her into the arms of the first people I saw" and asked them to call the emergency services.

Then he returned to help other security guards dig Edward out from the rubble.

Netcare 911 spokesman Mark Stokoe said an emergency worker who happened to be in the vicinity went to help, and Lizandré and Edward were taken to Glynwood Hospital in Benoni.

Hospital spokeswoman Sally Walsh said Lizandré was monitored in the pediatric ward in case of any breathing problems. She was discharged yesterday afternoon.

Edward was immediately admitted to the ICU and his critical condition was stabilised. He underwent an operation yesterday morning.

André van Zyl was supported by family members and trauma counsellors at the scene on Saturday evening. He was too distraught to give his dead wife’s name.

Natasha du Preez of Ekurhuleni Metro rescue service said there was strong suspicion that the wall collapsed because of the heavy rainstorm.

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