Shocks in horror KZN crash probe results

2015-09-04 09:25
(Picture: Netcare 911)

(Picture: Netcare 911)

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Durban - An investigation into the horror crash in Shakas Head that claimed 16 people’s lives on August 18 has revealed some shocking results.

The horrific crash saw a minibus taxi plough through the guardrail of the bridge it was travelling on and land on a railway track.

An approaching train then crashed in to the taxi, almost destroying it completely.

With 15 people pronounced dead on the scene and another dying later in hospital, the accident was described by many on scene as “horrific” and “chaotic”.

MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu released a statement on Thursday addressing the investigation into the accident and said the report was “disturbing”.

He said the preliminary investigation revealed the driver of the taxi failed to stop at the intersection at the bridge and went over the guardrail, landing on the railway track in the path of an oncoming train.

The SAPS Collision Unit, the Department’s Road Traffic Inspectorate, and KwaDukuza Traffic personnel attended the scene and worked together on the investigation.

The Transport Department commissioned the services of a private forensic accident investigator due to the magnitude of the accident.

The summary of the report found several mechanical defects with the taxi, which included:

•Several new components had been fitted to the vehicle (steering rack, pinion and shock absorbers)

•The gearbox was changed and the speedometer could not be connected

•The engine was removed and refitted.

•The left side engine mounting had perished.

•The rear gearbox had perished.

•The rear brake drum diameter was over the normal size and the right front brake pins and bushes were worn to excess resulting in unstable braking on the front axle.

•The rear axle “U” bolts were loose resulting in an unstable vehicle.

It was concluded the braking system was unroadworthy and dangerous.

Mchunu said the report from their E-Natis system revealed the taxi was recently tested in Gauteng and issued with a roadworthiness certificate.

“It is concerning that a vehicle from KwaDukuza will go as far as Gauteng to obtain a roadworthiness certificate. We are therefore investigating this.”

In a report by engineers assigned to investigate the site of the accident, Mchunu said the cumulative effect of the report is that the driver did not stop at a stop sign, was speeding, and the taxi possibly had brake failure — or a combination of these factors were at play.

He added that the engineers were emphatic that the condition of the road could not have been a contributing factor to this unfortunate accident.

“The rise of accidents in the province show that in 2013 there were 615 fatalities out of 536 crashes and increased to 639 fatalities out of 574 crashes in 2014.

“Already, in 2015 the statistics record an alarming 714 fatalities out of 629 crashes as of the end of August.

“These are disturbing figures that require the department to implement aggressive measures covering education and awareness, effective law enforcement, continuously improving the road engineering and monitoring and evaluation programmes,” said Mchunu.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

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