Gloom as 16 die in one day on KZN roads
A dark mood overcame KwaZulu-Natal road users on Saturday when 16 people were killed in road crashes in one day.
Six of them were burnt beyond recognition after a minibus taxi they were travelling in overturned in the Inanda road, towards Durban, and burst into flames.
Durban Metro police spokesman Senior Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said that some passengers had been trapped in the burning taxi.
"It is not yet clear how the fire started but it is believed to have spread very rapidly," Khuzwayo said.
"Passengers battled to break free and were eventually burnt beyond recognition.
Paramedics and emergency rescue services had difficulty extinguishing the fire."
Khuzwayo said the injured passengers were rushed to RK Khan and Addington hospitals in Durban, where they were treated for burn wounds.
In another gruesome accident six people were killed when the driver of a minibus taxi lost control of his vehicle near Izingolweni, also on Saturday afternoon.
KwaZulu-Natal transport spokesman Nonkululeko Mbatha said the taxi was on its way from Izingolweni to nearby Port Shepstone when it crashed, killing six women and injuring another nine passengers.
Mbatha said the driver fled the the scene of the accident and that the nine passengers were in a serious condition.
In another accident four people were killed on the R34 in Vryheid in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Mbatha said four people died instantly when two taxis collided and two were critically injured.
"It was a head-on collision between two minibus taxis. Four people - three males and one female were killed on impact."
One minibus taxi was travelling from Johannesburg to Mahlabathini in the Nqgunyaneni area, and the other from Mahlabathini to Thokoza in Johannesburg.
Provincial transport MEC Bheki Cele yesterday visited the survivors in the Port Shepstone Hospital.
The number of people killed on South African roads over the festive season in 2006-07 was a staggering 1636
In 2007-08 road deaths declined slightly to 14198.