According to a preliminary report, 16 people were burnt beyond recognition after a multiple vehicle collision on the N3 between Peter Brown and Chatterton off-ramps in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours of Saturday morning.
A seven year old boy survived after his mother who was trapped in the minibus was able to squeeze him through the window and handed him over to an Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) officer who had been attending to the truck that had overturned.
The boy was rushed to Northdale hospital where he is currently being treated for internal injuries.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Peggy Nkonyeni said the RTI vehicle that the officer was travelling in was also burnt however the officer who saved the boy was unharmed.
Nkonyeni said according to preliminary reports, a truck had initially overturned in the N3.
“As it was still waiting to be removed from the freeway and as vehicles were travelling trying to divert from the overturned truck, a Toyota Quantum minibus went under the truck causing a chain reaction which resulted in a nine car pile up,” said Nkonyeni.
She added it was believed that the Toyota Quantum minibus was traveling from Gauteng to Harding in southern KwaZulu-natal.
The seven females and nine males that were killed were all passengers in the minibus.
Nkonyeni has expressed her condolences to the families of the deceased.
“We are deeply saddened by this gruesome accident which has claimed so many lives. My heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims. I also wish those who sustained injuries a speedy recovery,’ said Nkonyeni.
Emergency personnel were still busy clearing the scene by 12 pm. Helicopters were seen buzzing around the site of the crash.