'There was no way out, we were going to die' - KwaXimba crash survivor tells of horrific ordeal

2017-09-05 14:15
KwaXimba bridge taxi crash survivor Dingeni Jali.

KwaXimba bridge taxi crash survivor Dingeni Jali. (Nokuthula Khanyile)

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Pietermaritzburg - A survivor of the KwaXimba horror taxi crash has told of her agony as she saw the bodies of her fellow congregants piled up next to her.

Dingeni Jali dislocated her left shoulder and suffered a broken hip. She spent six days in hospital and hasn’t been able to move her body which is still in excruciating pain.

“I’m happy to be alive. I’m happy I survived,” said the 45-year-old mother of two, speaking from her home at KwaXimba.

“I don’t know how I survived or why I survived but I believe God spared my life for a reason. I am very grateful that I have been given a second chance,” she said, in pain and struggling to move.

Jali, a domestic worker from the Number Nine area in KwaXimba, was one of six survivors of the gruesome crash that claimed the lives of 20 church congregants of the Enyonini Zion Church last month.

Jali boarded the taxi at the Msunduzi bridge where the taxi later crashed into a barrier and plunged down an embankment.

“There were five of us from the Number Nine area who boarded the taxi at the bridge. I was the only one out of the five who survived.”

Jali said the taxi had been overloaded and said she was one of the five people who were standing in the taxi without a seat.

“The taxi was on its way to fetch four other members of our church at KwaMfene when the accident happened.”

She said when the taxi was coming down the windy road, congregants realised the brakes were faulty and that the driver was unable to control it.

“I remember hearing people screaming and crying before the taxi started rolling down. We could all see that there was no way out, we were going to die. I heard a loud bang and the taxi rolled down the embankment.”

She doesn’t remember what happened then, but vaguely recalls seeing bodies strewn around her while she lay on the ground in unbearable pain.

“One of the bodies was flung out of the taxi and landed on top of me. I had to ask community members who were helping at the scene to lift me out from underneath that body.”

Jali was then transported to the KwaXimba clinic which is 100 metres away from the accident scene.

When the accident happened, Jali’s two daughter’s Nosipho and Nana, who had been standing not far from the bridge, watched in horror.

They too were supposed to have boarded the same taxi with their mother but as fate would have it, they were left behind after the taxi became overloaded.

“I don’t know what would have happened if my children were in the taxi. One of us would have probably been among the fatalities. I am grateful that God shielded us.”

Although Jali is on a slow road to recovery, she said she has suffered psychological and emotional trauma.

“It’s still very difficult. I can’t bring myself to face the families of my four neighbours who were killed. What will I say to them?”

She said since the accident happened she has not had a good night’s rest.

“When I close my eyes everything comes back to me. I hear the screams and the loud bang and I can’t sleep. I have become insomniac (sic) and often take sleeping tablets.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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