Christmas gifts in the road after horror crash

Wrapped Christmas presents lay strewn across a KwaZulu-Natal highway following a horrific accident that claimed the lives of five people on Tuesday.

Bayview police Commissioner Superintendent Rajen Ramchunder said a car travelling into Chatsworth hit a traffic island and went into oncoming traffic. The incident took place on the Higginson highway near Havenside shortly after 3pm.

“He missed one car and collided into another bakkie,” said Ramchunder.

The car flipped several times and burst into flames.
Witnesses told police the car exploded on impact, and the engine and the battery flew about 50m into the air and landed several metres from the point of impact.

Ramchunder could only confirm that there was one occupant in that car. “We cannot determine much right now because the car is badly damaged.”

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said a six-year-old child, two women and a male driver were inside the bakkie.

Chatsworth community leader Visbin Reddy was at the scene and said the occupants of the bakkie were from Savannah Park. They had been carrying Christmas presents with them. He said the child, his mother, aunt and uncle were in the car. The two women had several limbs torn off and the man’s neck had been broken.

After speaking to police, Reddy added that the man in the first car—who burnt to death—had allegedly been drag-racing with another person on the highway at the time. “Police also believe that the car was modified—because it blew up on impact ... they suspect he had a nitrous gas cylinder in his car.”

He said the other person involved in the race fled the scene.

After hearing of the accident, dozens of motorists and residents converged on the scene. Some even knelt down and prayed for the families of those killed.

The Higginson highway heading towards Mobeni was closed for more than three hours.

Meanwhile, in Middelburg, seven people—including a three-month-old boy—died and nine others were seriously injured when a minibus taxi and another car collided on the N4 highway, Mpumalanga police said on Tuesday.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said a silver Kia sedan travelling from Middelburg to Nelspruit was making a U-turn on the Hendrina turnoff when a taxi crashed into it, killing seven people—four men, two women and the baby—on Monday at about 5.45pm.

“All four occupants in the Kia died on the scene and a 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Two male passengers, including a three-month-old baby boy in the taxi, also died, while nine others were taken to hospital,” he said.

The deceased in the sedan had not yet been identified. However, Hlathi said investigations had revealed that the car was registered in Soshanguve.—Sapa

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