‘It was absolute carnage’

2015-07-17 08:09
The remains of the taxi at the scene of the crash where eight people, including a three-month-old baby, were killed when a taxi and truck collided on the R612 outside Bulwer yesterday.

The remains of the taxi at the scene of the crash where eight people, including a three-month-old baby, were killed when a taxi and truck collided on the R612 outside Bulwer yesterday. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - The wreckage of a mangled minibus taxi lay in shards across Bulwer’s R612 as mortuary vans carrying the bodies of eight people including a three-month-old baby left the scene of a horror crash on Thursday.

The collision between a taxi and a truck left eight dead and seven others injured when it is believed the taxi veered into the truck’s lane.

The truck was travelling from Nkwezela near Bulwer into Bulwer with the taxi driving in the opposite direction. The truck was carrying tons of wood chippings.

The shocked truck driver, Bhekani Khumalo, told The Witness on Thursday that “the taxi just came straight in front of me”.

“I tried to avoid the taxi but my truck lost control and I even drove up the bank,” he said.

“I am so heartbroken for the people who died in the crash, and their families,” he added.

The crumpled wreckage of the taxi surrounded by bloodied body bags, glass and items of clothing lay in the centre of the road as bystanders crowded the scene wanting to know what had happened.

Sniffer dogs from the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit searched the wreckage of the taxi for body parts.

Wood chippings, which had spilled out from the truck that had landed on its side, were spread on the road.

An official, who would not be named, said it had been a “horrific scene” with bodies still trapped in the wreckage when emergency services arrived.

Reports from Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha confirmed that an infant had been among the eight declared dead at the crash.

“Netcare 911 paramedics arrived at the scene and found absolute carnage.

“After triaging, they found that eight people had died, among them a small baby. Two people were in a critical condition while seven sustained serious injuries,” he said.

“Paramedics from various services worked fervently at the scene to stabilise the injured before they transported them to various hospitals in Pietermaritzburg.”

The official said the mother of the baby had survived the crash and was in a serious condition.

It is believed the baby was three months old.

Plessislaer Cluster police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said the truck driver sustained minor bruises on the left arm as well as on his lower back.

“The minibus driver died on the scene along with seven other people aged between three to four months and 69 years old. The names of the deceased will not be disclosed until their next of kin have been notified,” said Ntombela.

The exact cause of the accident is not yet known and is under investigation by local authorities.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  accidents

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