Crash survivor describes horror inferno

2014-05-20 11:33
A biker died after his motorbike and three cars collided on the M4 in Durban. (Netcare 911)

A biker died after his motorbike and three cars collided on the M4 in Durban. (Netcare 911)

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Chris Ndaliso and Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Durban - "I honestly don't know how I survived this, or how my car was rear-ended during the chaos. I can't erase the image of that man and the flames. It was just too much to bear.”

Kirstie Snyman was one of the motorists caught in the middle of a horror pile-up on the M4 on Monday involving three car and motorbike.

It is understood that a car had ploughed into the rider, the force of the impact flinging him nearly 30 metres and causing his motorcycle to explode. He died at the scene.

Snyman was driving with a friend from Umhlanga towards Durban to write examinations when suddenly traffic came to an abrupt halt and she put her hazards on.


“I felt this huge thump from behind me. I couldn't make out what was happening but something bumped my car from the rear, and I bumped my head onto something. I jumped out of the car and suddenly two cars were engulfed in flames. The last thing I remember was a man lying on the road and with people rushing to the scene,” said the 19-year-old first year BCom student from her Netcare Umhlanga hospital bed.

“When I got out of the car all that I was left with is the image of a man lying on the road. This was horrific and I became hysterical when I saw the cars bursting into flames,” said Snyman with tears streaming down her face.

“I was really dazed and I managed to get out of my car and I just saw smoke and flames and these guys desperately trying to get someone out from under a burning car,” she said.

“I am so lucky to be alive. I know that God was with me today. I saw what all the other cars looked like and they were destroyed, I know that I was very lucky,” she said.

Pillars of black smoke rose from the crumpled cars as they were consumed by fire, causing traffic on the freeway to grind to a halt.


Snyman said one of the vehicles, a VW Polo, must have been doing 160 km/h.

One of the cars slammed into the bike rider and another vehicle before bursting into flames.

Snyman and her friend, who she only identified as Sandile, were taken to hospital with minor injuries. She was complaining of pain to the neck and head and X-rays were taken on both of them.

The other two motorists sustained serious injuries.

It has emerged that the motorcycle owner had booked the bike in for a service.

William Vincent of Sarnia said that the motorcycle had been awaiting parts ordered from Johannesburg.

“I have no idea who was riding the bike, it was supposed to be parked off for a service and I don’t know how this could have happened,” he said.


Snyman’s mother Stacey said she had had a funny feeling before leaving home in the morning.

“I got into my room and prayed. I can’t explain that feeling but it was as though I was about to hear something bad, and this happened later,” said Stacey.

After the collision, fire from the explosion quickly spread to two other cars that had skidded to a halt in the highway median.

eThekwini Metro Police spokesperson Eugene Msomi said that the freeway was closed for more than three hours.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

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