Four die in horror crash that destroys trees, cars, shops

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Survivors of yesterday's Carletonville horror truck crash said those who died had no chance to survive as the accident happened so swiftly.

The runaway truck hit trees and other vehicles before landing inside a sweets shop on Annan Road, killing four people, including a pupil.

A policeman said he was horrified when he arrived at the scene to find body parts scattered on the pavement and also inside the shops.

The horse-and-trailer truck plunged into three shops before coming to a standstill.

The incident happened at about 10am.

By the time it came to a halt inside the shop, four people were dead, including a Grade 9 pupil who had just written the year-end examination.

Emergency personnel used a crane to remove rubble to search for bodies.

About 30 people were injured, 10 of them critically.

Witnesses said that as the truck headed for the shops, it knocked into a pedestrian woman, ripping her body apart.

"Her body parts where scattered everywhere. It was the worst thing I have ever seen," said the police officer who did not want to be named.

A father, who is said to have left his children in his BMW, came out of the shops running to the car. It was too late. The truck rammed into the vehicle and pushed it inside the shops, said a witness.

Police last night could not confirm whether the kids were dead or alive.

Among the onlookers on the scene was a mother whose son was crushed by the truck. "Where is my son. Why don't you allow me to see him. He is my son," she screamed hysterically.

Her husband, Thomas Phaswana, said: "At least I saw him. I know that my son is dead. But it is going to be difficult for my wife."

Phaswana said his son, Tendani, 23, had taken his computer to a shop to be fixed.

Londiwe Litheko, a Grade 9 pupil from Carleton Jones High School, said her friend Ntombana Thwala, 15, was among the people who died.

"I can't believe what happened. I'm still in a state of shock," she said.

She said they had just finished writing the Arts and Culture exam paper. Thwala had decided to accompany other girls to buy sweets at the shop.

Police spokesman Captain Busi Manyise said the truck collided with a smaller truck at the robot. It then lost control and veered off the road.

"It rammed into several cars, knocking people who were walking on the pavement before it plunged into three shops," she said.

The area resembled a tsunami-hit area, with the entire front part of the shops ripped off and the roof caved in.

The truck from Parys was carrying tombstones and was heading for Malikana.

Trauma counsellors tried to console relatives of some of the victims, who were overwhelmed by the accident.

Four people died on the scene and several injured people were taken to different hospitals in Carletonville.

Manyise said a case of culpable homicide will be investigated.