Doctor among the dead at PSJ crash

Four bodies retrieved from car wreckage after it went off cliff at airstrip

PREMIUM

The bodies of four people, among them a medical doctor from the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha, were on Wednesday pulled out of a mangled wreckage of a car that went off a cliff at an airstrip in Port St Johns at the weekend.
The Daily Dispatch reported that a rescue mission had been carried out on Tuesday using an SA National Defence Force helicopter but had to be called off after it became dark.
This was the third car to go over cliffs in the last four years at the notorious airstrip which is used by private small airplanes. Port St Johns police spokesperson Captain Nozuko Handile told the Dispatch on Wednesday that members of the rescue operation had to use the jaws of life to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the cliff.
Distraught families rushed to the scene to help identify the bodies on Wednesday.
The doctor has been identified as Mzuzile Flepu, 39. The car, a white VW Polo TSI, belonged to him and he was the driver at the time of the tragic accident. The three other victims were identified as Amzile Mafuna, 28, Ongezile Nogwina, 22, and Nobubele Hopu, 22.
One of Flepu’s close friends, Mava Mchatha, said Flepu, who originally hailed from Mdantsane, had been visiting PSJ over the weekend.
“He was a person who liked to explore and loved nature.”
He said the deceased had used the area as a holiday destination. Flepu’s uncle Lungelo Zibonda said they were distraught at losing their loved one.
“The fact that his body has been found at least serves to soften the blow a little bit,” he said.
Nobubele’s uncle, Dalindyebo Hopu, said their family hailed from Ngobozana village in Lusikisiki but his niece worked in PSJ.
He said they had received a call from her friend who became worried when she went to look for her at her home. Her cellphone had been on voicemail.
Amzile’s father, Phumzile Mafuna, said his son had come home for the weekend from Mthatha where he worked.
He had left him in his town house in PSJ and gone to their birth village near Majola Tea Estate.
“I got a call on Monday after someone posted a photo of a car that looked like the one he was in on social media. We are distraught. He had a bright future ahead of him.”
Ongezile’s older sister, Khanyisa, said she last saw her brother with Mzuzile and Nobubele in a bar on Friday night. Her brother was supposed to start work at her workplace on Saturday.
“I phoned on Friday reminding him that he should not forget about the job. On Saturday I tried phoning but their phones were on voicemail.”
Handile said the bodies were starting to decompose when they were recovered.
An inquest docket has been opened at the Port St Johns police station...

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