‘Shrill screams’: resident tells of crash that killed six women

2011-05-31 00:00

“THE screeching of tyres on tar lasted a few seconds, then a loud thud. The shrill screams of those poor girls I will never forget, and finally the crash,” said Clark Road resident John Farr, recalling Saturday morning’s horror accident that claimed six lives.

Farr was familiar with the sounds, since similar accidents have occurred at the same spot, but none was as horrific.

A BMW crammed with seven people of whom six were young students, lost control on Clark Road in Glenwood, Durban, and collided at high speed with a tree. The force of the impact ripped the car in two. Six of the seven passengers were thrown out of the car. The driver escaped with minor injuries.

Farr said his wife, a nurse, was the first on the scene, but the lifeless bodies were beyond any assistance she could give.

“The bodies were lying [scattered] within a six-metre radius of the vehicle. Their limbs were contorted, something I will never forget,” he said. “It sounded like they were doing an incredible speed, which — given the steep incline of Clark Road — is a death wish.”

Netcare 911 paramedics declared six of the passengers dead on the scene and stabilised the driver before taking him to Addington Hospital.

The dead are Mzwandile Zitha (30), CTI College student Elethu Diko (19) and Berea College students Athi Nzuwuse (17), Bongeka Silinga (19), Sesi Thabethe (20) and Zemkhithi Faltenie (18), all reportedly from the Eastern Cape.

Durban University of Technology vice-chancellor Professor Ahmed C. Bawa extended his condolences to the families of the deceased.

“The driver, Mzuphilile Gadu, who is also a DUT student, is in hospital in a stable condition.

“The loss of so many young lives is extremely heartbreaking. We hope that the injured student … will recover soon,” he said.

The university plans to hold a memorial service in honour of Mzwandile Zitha.

Information about the date, time and venue will be placed on DUT notice boards.

It is believed Gadu had borrowed the BMW from his older brother for a night out with friends.

Police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

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