KwaZulu-Natal police are investigating the cause of a horrific crash that claimed the lives of 16 people on the N3 southbound between the Peter Brown and Chatterton offramps in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours of Saturday morning.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport’s Spokesperson, Kwanele Ncalane, says, “All the fatalities are believed to have been from the minibus taxi. We are currently trying to establish where the taxi was travelling from and where it was going to. Indications are that it was moving from Johannesburg to Harding.”
Watch: KZN police investigate cause of horrific crash that claimed 16 lives
It is believed that the 10-vehicle pile-up resulted after a truck lost control and overturned leaving some of its load strewn over the embankment. It is reported that rubbernecking led to further collisions, including the devastating impact that led to a minibus taxi catching fire. Several vehicles caught fire after the collision.
Ncalane adds that a 7-year-old boy is a sole survivor.
“The 7-year-old boy was rescued by a traffic officer as the vehicle caught fire. At this stage, it is still difficult to verify some of the details as vehicles caught fire and they still a lot of work being done at the scene. Forensic teams are on the ground to also try to clear the road. We appeal to our people to be patient when driving along that route.”
Scene of horrific accident
Amidst the blackened wreckage, half-eaten meals and luggage lay strewn on the road. Traffic came to a standstill well into Saturday afternoon.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport Siboniso Mbhele says traffic officers received a call that a truck was lying on its side and while they were attending to that incident, a secondary accident happened around 2 am which resulted in the loss of 16 lives.
The department says it will receive a full report once the police investigation is concluded.
Mbhele adds, “We want to convey our condolences to the families of the deceased and we would like to warn motorists that when they are travelling on roads where there is construction to obey the rules of the road and to also focus on driving. Had the secondary accident not happened we would not have lost anyone.”
The road remained closed for over 8 hours to make way for the police investigation. The Department says the process of identifying the deceased will now follow.
Watch: N3 crash that claimed 16 lives in KZN
Authorities say an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash. The identities of the deceased have not yet been released as their next of kin are still being contacted.
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