Fire engulfs taxi and passengers in horror truck accident on the N3 in Pietermaritzburg
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport said 16 people died in a multi-vehicle collision on the N3 between Peter Brown Drive and the Chatterton Road offramp in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours on Saturday, 28 May 2022. According to reports, 10 vehicles were involved in the "horrific" crash after the driver of a truck lost control of the vehicle. Reports indicate that two trucks, a bakkie, minibus and five other cars were involved in a collision resulting in a fully laden taxi bursting into flames. When rescuers arrived on scene, the fire had spread to other vehicles and had engulfed the taxi with all its occupants. While on scene, another secondary collision occurred on the northbound carriageway, which left emergency personal scrambling.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said the incident occurred on Saturday at about 02h00am while an Interlink truck was travelling on the N3 in Town Hill. It said the wheels on the right side of the truck came off, which resulted in the vehicle overturning onto the centre embankment. RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the KwaZulu-Natal response to intervention (RTI) was in place to provide an advanced warning. "A minibus then came down the hill approaching this obstruction when another Interlink crashed into the back of the minibus, pushed the minibus into the RTI vehicle and then into the Interlink that was lying on its right side," Zwane said.
"All other vehicles then crashed into the rear of these vehicles. A full mechanical investigation will be conducted to look at the vehicles and whether there were any failures that contributed to the crash," he added.
KwaZulu-Natal transport department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said a traffic patrol vehicle was also hit by the truck. "The traffic officer managed to survive. All the 16 fatalities are believed to be from a minibus taxi. We are currently trying to establish where the taxi was coming from and where it was going to," Ncalane added.
He said there were indications that the taxi was en route from Johannesburg to Harding in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ncalane said, “A seven-year-old boy was rescued by a traffic officer when one of the vehicles caught fire. At this stage, it is still very difficult to verify some of the details of the accident as some vehicles caught fire and there is still a lot of work currently being done on the scene.”
The department said its officials were "devastated" by the accident. "We haven't had such a horrendous accident in the province for a very long time. We wish to extend our deepest condolences to those families affected by the crash," said Ncalane.
Sources: News 24; Shawn Herbst, media liaison officer, Netcare 911