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A destroyed Monopoly set, bent fishing rods, camping gear and food strewn across the ground next to a car crushed underneath a truck was the heartbreaking image rescuers will remember after a horrific 18-car accident on the N2 near Durban late yesterday.
A man and two boys, aged 10 and 11, all believed to be from Ballito, died when an 18-wheeler truck ploughed into their car on the N2 north near Umgeni Road.
Altogether 18 cars were involved in the accident before the truck veered off the road, dragging two vehicles with it and coming to rest in a construction area.
Traffic travelling north came to a standstill and was backed up for kilometres. All major routes in and out of the city were congested as news of the accident spread and commuters tried to find alternative routes home.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said paramedics, firemen and police search and rescue teams arrived at the scene and found the car under the truck. The Jaws of Life and a heavy duty crane were used to free the vehicle.
After two hours, the bodies of the man and the children could be removed. They died on impact.
ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said the second vehicle, a black SUV, was found at the back of the truck’s trailer. Four people in it were injured – two seriously – and were taken to hospital.
Three other vehicles were found on the N2 with extensive damage.
“The occupants from the other vehicles sustained minor to moderate injuries and were taken to hospitals in the area.”
The driver of the truck and his passenger were unhurt.
Botha said it was believed that the three who died were on their way home from a holiday in the Drakensberg.
“I was told that the father of one of the boys who died arrived on scene when the clearing process was almost complete. He said his son had spent time with his friend and the friend’s father and were returning home to Ballito.”
Tow-truck drivers lined the side of the highway, preparing to remove the damaged vehicles from the highway.
Botha said it had been difficult for emergency vehicles to get to the accident as taxis trying to dodge the traffic had blocked the emergency lanes.