6 killed in 3 accidents in 24 hours
Two crashes involved vehicles that were taking children to school
Six people – two of them children – were killed and 22 pupils were among 32 people hurt in three separate crashes in the province in 24 hours.
In two accidents bakkies overturned. In the third, six pupils were slightly injured. The driver did not know why he crashed.
On Monday two children died near Ntabankulu when the bakkie transporting 18 children to school overturned;
On the same day a man and three women were killed near Butterworth when a bakkie loaded with 13 adult passengers overturned. Nine people were rushed to hospital.
On Tuesday six pupils were treated for minor injuries when their taxi went out of control in Mthatha, causing mayhem as it rampaged down the pavement, finally careened into the front of the Mthatha City Hall.
Provincial transport spokesperson Unathi Binqose said of the Ntabankulu crash that 18 Mnceba Senior Secondary pupils were on their way to school when the front tyre of their bakkie ruptured.
“The driver lost control and the bakkie overturned. One learner died on impact, the second died on arrival at Mt Ayliff Hospital,” said Binqose.
Three pupils were still in a critical condition and 13 had serious to minor injuries.
Transport MEC Weziwe Tikana said she was “deeply saddened” and sent her “deepest condolences to the grieving families who suffered such a tremendous loss”.
Education spokesperson Mali Mtima said they were investigating the circumstances.
Education MEC Mandla Makupula said officials were sent to the school to offer emotional support to grieving families and counselling to pupils. “Those who are in hospital have also been visited,” he added.
Butterworth cluster police spokesman Captain Jackson Manatha said the driver of the bakkie that overturned near Butterworth was airlifted to an East London hospital.The bakkie, carrying shoppers, overturned at 11.10am at Ngonyama bridge at Mputi village, Dutywa. Police were investigating but the cause of the crash is unknown.
In Mthatha, at 7am on Tuesday, motorists and pedestrians ran for their lives when a Toyota Avanza transporting schoolchildren suddenly ploughed into three parked vehicles before slamming into a concrete pillar holding up the veranda of the Mthatha City Hall. One person knocked down by the runaway taxi was rushed to hospital and is in a stable condition.
Provincial transport and liaison spokesperson Binqose said: “The driver lost control of the vehicle, hitting three parked cars, and drove over the pavement. Six schoolchildren sustained minor injuries.”
Shocked witnesses said the Avanza sent poles and metal bins flying. It hit a Toyota Fortuner, shunting it for quite a distance.
Street vendor Noxolo Nikana said: “It looked like it was flying. It was amazing and confusing at the same time.”
The Dispatch saw both front wheels of the Avanza were wrecked, the rims smashed.
The Fortuner was sideswiped and the front of a Corolla was damaged when it was apparently dragged by the Avanza.
The Corolla appeared to have ricocheted into a third vehicle.
The Corolla driver, a clerk at the Mthatha magistrate’s court who asked not to be named, felt lucky to be alive. “I had just parked my car when I heard big bangs. I saw a speeding Avanza coming straight towards me.
“I jumped out of my car and within a split second it hit my car and sent me flying off the road. I have never seen anything like it.”
The Avanza driver had no visible injuries, but he looked shocked. He was overheard telling police officers: “I don’t know what happened. I just lost consciousness while driving.” He was taken to hospital...