one dies and scores huRt in crashes

ONE person died and more than 40 others were injured in separate road crashes in KwaZulu-Natal over the long weekend.

Yesterday morning a man died and two others were critically injured when a bakkie and an SUV collided head-on on the R603 Umbumbululu road near Eston.

A Netcare paramedic said the "vehicles ploughed into one another" and the collision sent the bakkie spinning off the road. The SUV came to rest on the shoulder of the road.

"The driver of the bakkie was killed on impact and his body was trapped in the crumpled cab of the vehicle."

According to the paramedic the SUV driver and passenger had been critically injured. They were treated and stabilised by Netcare 911 medical staff on the scene before being taken by ambulance to hospitals in Durban.

In another crash yesterday morning 25 people were injured, one of them seriously, when two minibus taxis and a sedan collided at the intersection of Berea and Essenwood roads in Durban.

According to witnesses one minibus had been weaving dangerously through traffic and had clipped the back of a car.

The taxi spun out of control and slammed into another minibus.

"The occupants of both taxis were injured, with three backseat passengers of the offending minibus trapped in the crumpled wreckage," said Netcare spokesperson Jeff Wicks.

He said Netcare 911's specialised rescue unit officers and the eThekwini Metro firefighters used the jaws of life to cut the injured passengers free.

Once they had been extricated they were stabilised on the scene along with the other injured.

They were then taken by ambulance to the Netcare St Augustine's, King Edward VII and Addington hospitals, Wicks said.

Meanwhile, 15 people were injured, one critically, when the taxi in which they were travelling overturned on the N2 northbound carriageway on Sunday evening.

The driver had apparently lost control of the fully laden minibus taxi after a rear wheel tyre blow-out.

Traffic on the road was obstructed while emergency service personnel cleared the scene.