One person was killed and 30 injured when an 80-ton crane rolled off a truck and crashed into two Quantum minibuses and a VW Polo in Merebank, Durban, on Friday evening, 13 September.
According to Rescue Care paramedics director Garrith Jamieson, the crane came loose while it was being pulled down Himalayas Road. He described the scene as “absolute chaos.”
Five-hour rescue mission
Jamieson said it was a “mammoth task” to free the trapped passengers, and added that Rescue Care Paramedics worked closely with emergency services in the area to provide assistance at the scene of the accident.
The Durban Fire Department, Car Towing Services and Joeys Towing Services were also at the scene, along with the members from the Wentworth SAPS Vispol Unit. As reported by Arrive Alive:
“Whilst the Towing experts used heavy-duty cranes, the Durban Fire Department used the Jaws of Life and other hydraulic tools to cut the patients free. This was a mammoth task and the last patient was freed approximately five hours later.”
Road closures into the early hours of Saturday morning
Roads were closed until the early hours of Saturday morning, and the thirty injured were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.
As reported by Nothando Mthembu from the Southland Sun, a case of culpable homicide is being investigated by Wentworth Police after a teacher lost her life.
According to Wentworth police communications officer, Captain Mbuso Gumede, “a woman aged 40 died at the scene.“
Gumede explained that the trailer broke loose from the truck while going uphill and “crashed into three taxis and a polo”. He said the “crane fork, tyres, and steel parts crashed into two taxi rooftops”, trapping two passengers. Gumede added:
“The taxis were from Empangeni, North Coast and were transporting learners who were accompanied by teachers on tour to Durban. The deceased is a teacher from Empangeni. The deceased’s body has been taken to Gale Street government mortuary.”
The taxis were damaged extensively by the crane and a trailer; the vehicles were towed from the scene.