'We are coping and trying to manage' - Family of hijack crash victims

2016-04-18 15:56

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Johannesburg – A mother and two of her children remain in ICU at different hospitals on Monday following a dramatic hijacking and car crash in Florida, west of Johannesburg, last week.

A group of hijackers made off with Marelize Bright and her children Abigail, 10, Damian, 6, and Marinique, 1, after she had parked her Hyundai i20 at a crèche on Friday.

"We are coping and trying to manage," Alan Bright, brother of Marelize's husband Eugene, told News24 on Monday.

He said he and his brother were making their way to the hospitals on Monday morning.

"We are just hoping for them to get better first before we deal with anything else. My brother doesn't want to talk to anybody now."

He said they had received a lot of support from the children's school, the crèche and their community.

Speaking to Rapport, 10-year-old Tatum Anderson shared the conversation she had with classmate Abigail on the lawn during first break on Friday, moments before the hijacking.

"We spoke about all sorts of things. A teacher who was in the army a long time ago said the worst thing a man can make is a bomb," the girl recalled.

"We wondered about that, but we did not yet know what would happen to Abigail that same afternoon."

Marelize and Damian were flown to Milpark Hospital and Clinton Hospital respectively. Abigail was at Garden City hospital.

They were at different hospitals because Milpark does not treat children.

Alan said Marelize's condition had not changed since Sunday. She had swelling on the brain, a fractured pelvis and fractured ribs. They were keeping her sedated at Milpark.

Damian was still on a ventilator and had brain swelling, liquid on the lungs and a lot of bruising.

Abigail was stable and had a broken arm and cracked pelvis.

The baby was unharmed.

"Marinique is with us. She got a few scratches and bruises but was in the baby chair and tied in. The hijacker sat on her."

Alan said the crèche had phoned him about the hijacking.

They had been unable to reach his brother because he was travelling back from Bloemfontein.

A staff member at the crèche also pushed the panic button for armed response.

A dramatic car chase ensued with an armed response van and private citizen involved.

Steve van Eeden told News24 that he decided to join the chase after the hijacked vehicle hit a car in front of him.

"They [the hijackers] were driving at about 140km/h in a 60km/h zone," Van Eeden said.

As the chase continued, the hijackers turned a corner and lost control of the vehicle, hitting a traffic island before smashing into a bakkie pulling a trailer, which had been coming from the opposite direction.

"The first thing I did was I contacted SAPS because I have buddies here," said Alan.

They wanted the vehicle's registration number but he did not have it.

The alleged hijackers were later transported under police supervision to Leratong Hospital.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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