The death toll in a horrific northern KwaZulu-Natal crash on Tuesday has risen to eight, after one of the six critically injured patients died in hospital.
TimesLIVE earlier reported that seven people were instantly killed and six others critically injured when a bakkie collided with a car on the R34 between Vryheid and Ulundi on Tuesday morning.
In a statement the provincial department of transport said initial investigations revealed that the driver of a Mazda 3 had failed to stop at a stop street before colliding head-on with a Ford Ranger.
“At about 11 this morning, a Ford Ranger carrying six occupants collided head-on with a Mazda 3 which was carrying seven occupants, claiming the lives of seven people at the scene of the accident. Six critically injured survivors were treated by paramedics at the scene before being transported to hospital for further medical attention.
“Tragically, the eighth victim died in hospital.
“According to preliminary investigations, it is alleged that the driver of the Mazda 3 failed to stop at a stop street. Though the exact cause of the accident is still being investigated, law enforcement authorities said reckless and negligent driving could not be ruled out.”
MEC for transport, community safety and liaison Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni condemned reckless and negligent driving after the incident.
Nkonyeni had on Monday released the Easter weekend road statistics for the province, showing 54 people died on KZN’s roads as a result of drinking and driving, and speeding.
“It was disturbing to learn that one of the vehicles involved in the accident in Vryheid was overloaded and it is alleged that the driver failed to stop at a stop street, which could be the cause of this ghastly accident that resulted in the deaths of eight people,” she said.
“Through flouting the basic rules of the road, the driver displayed gross recklessness and total disregard for the rule of law, as well as other road users.
“Human error and negligence are to blame for the increasing death toll on our provincial roads, which is a huge cost to the economy. Therefore, harsher action must be taken against motorists that violate traffic regulations.”
KZN Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert Mckenzie said the cause of the crash was unknown and would be investigated by the police.
*** Major Crash ***
on the R34 between Melmoth and Vryheid, KZN. LDV and light notor vehicle involved in the crash with 7 fatalities.
Our team of crash investigators have been deployed to the scene.
— Road Traffic Management Corporation (@TrafficRTMC) April 6, 2021
Meanwhile, on Sunday morning three people were killed near the Mtunzini toll plaza along the N2 when their vehicle caught alight after a collision.
The crashes come as the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) is collating the Easter weekend accident statistics.
RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said on Tuesday that transport minister Fikile Mbalula would release the Easter stats in due course.
He said he could not comment on unverified statistics at this stage.
by Orrin Singh