Sunday, December 21, 2008

Horror crash claims 19 Zimbabweans

This is an old newspaper article
dated 09 September 2005. For the overseas readers of this blog, an accident like this is not an isolated case. Even having 16 passengers in a taxi is living on the edge, as the vast majority of them are unroadworthy, and driven by people that have no respect for other road users.

MAKHADO – Nineteen Zimbaweans were killed when their overloaded taxi, designed to carry 16 passengers, fell down a cliff next to Ingwe Hotel outside Makhado last Friday.

The driver, who stopped the taxi on the slope to urinate, looked on helplessly as the taxi ran over the railings before it overturned several times as it fell down a cliff.

The taxi was certified to carry 16 passengers, but, according to the police who attended the accident, 26 passengers had been crammed into the vehicle.

The fatal accident was survived by eight passengers, including the driver. In the meantime, a critically injured passenger was transferred to the Polokwane Hospital.

Speaking from her bed in the Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital, one of the survivors, Ms Felistus Tshili (30), said that everything happened very fast; there was no time to jump out and the three people sitting in the front with the driver could not control or stop the taxi.

She further said she heard people crying in agony, with dead people lying everywhere after the taxi had come to a halt. She also confirmed that there were two kids in the wrecked taxi; one died with both parents and the other kid survived. Tshili, who works in Gauteng, said she only visited home for a week once a year.

“I was going for a three-week holiday. I wanted to surprise my family by arriving at home without informing them, but they will be shocked to learn that I have survived this fatal accident,” she said.
Tshili adds that each passenger paid R250 for the trip and R600 for the luggage.

Capt Mashudu Malelo, spokesperson for the Vhembe SAPS, said that the injured passengers were rushed to the Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital and the deceased are now in the government mortuary in Makhado as the relevant authorities from Zimbabwe were still in the process of informing the deceased’s families.

The Provincial MEC for Transport in Limpopo, Mr Stan Motemele, was also shocked by the horrific accident. He sent messages of condolences to the berieved families.

A fortnight ago, Motimele’s department launched its program “Road Users Safety” to secure road users as part of the broader Arrive Alive Campaign.
In another crash, four people died when their car collided with a truck along the Tshakhuma road.

Three of the deceased were family who were on their way to see a relative in Polokwane Hospital and one is a stranded man who asked for a lift.
Another accident took place at Ha-Mutsha village outside Thohoyandou, when a car collided with a truck (diesel carrier).

Two people died at the scene on Sunday night.
A driver died at Levubu during the weekend, when his car collided with a bakkie. According to statistics supplied by the police, 26 people died on the roads within 48 hours in the Vhembe District.

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