'Driver error caused deadly bus crash'

The gaping hole in the upstairs section of the roadlink bus that was involved in a terrible  accident on christams eve killing 12 people in PMB. PIC: Jackie Clausen. 29/12/2006. © SUNDAY TIMES
The gaping hole in the upstairs section of the roadlink bus that was involved in a terrible accident on christams eve killing 12 people in PMB. PIC: Jackie Clausen. 29/12/2006. © SUNDAY TIMES

THE Pietermaritzburg high court heard yesterday that driver error and not a burst tyre caused a 2006 bus crash in which 12 people died.

THE Pietermaritzburg high court heard yesterday that driver error and not a burst tyre caused a 2006 bus crash in which 12 people died.

Automotive accident examiner Laurence Merchant was testifying in a R1,2million claim by passenger Wellington Manana against SA Roadlink's passenger service.

Manana spent two months in a Pietermaritzburg hospital and received additional treatment in Johannesburg for head and other injuries sustained in the crash.

Roadlink has opposed the claim, denying that the driver was negligent in any respect.

It maintains that ". the accident was caused by the sudden deflation of the right rear tyre fitted to the tag axle."

However, Merchant told the court that the tag axle was behind the rear axle, which had four wheels and carried the main weight of the bus. He said if a tag axle tyre burst it might result in a small swerve, which the driver could easily correct.

Merchant inspected the site three days after the crash and had wanted to take the deflated tyre to a specialist, but an SA Roadlink inspector refused.

Manana's wife said he has not been the same person since the crash. A surgeon said he suffered from amnesia.

Another passenger said the driver complained that he was tired and had had no time to sleep. The driver, Charles Vaudin, 37, was acquitted of culpable homicide earlier this year.

The case continues today. - Sapa

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