A Phoenix man is lucky to have survived a horror crash which caused his vehicle to flip and land on its roof in a canal in Durban.
Illegal drag racing has been blamed for the collision which happened at the intersection of Umgeni and Alpine roads, just before midnight on Saturday.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said a man had been arrested and charged with reckless and negligent driving and illegal drag racing.
The arrested Verulam man’s mangled Nissan 200 SX was impounded by the SAPS Collision Unit.
It has been alleged the car had been extensively modified.
Esholan Naidoo, 26, of Phoenix, was driving home in his Nissan Navara when the crash happened.
He also claimed the driver of the Nissan 200 SX was drag racing.
The driver allegedly lost control and his vehicle slammed head-on into a Bantam bakkie before crashing into the Navara from behind.
OUT OF CONTROL
The impact caused the Navara to lose control, and plough through roadside barriers and into a canal running parallel to Umgeni Road, coming to rest on its roof.
Naidoo said he heard a loud bang and looked up into his rear-view mirror.
He saw a car spin out of control.
“Within seconds my car was airborne. It landed on its roof in a canal. I heard the roof crush on impact. It was an unbelievable experience,” Naidoo said.
Naidoo, a consultant at a bank, said while the car was airborne, he instinctively moved his body so that his feet were on the driver’s seat and his head on the passenger seat.
Once the bakkie landed on its roof, Naidoo, who was upside down, tried to find a way out.
But he was trapped.
“I checked if I was okay. I wiggled my legs and opened and closed my fist to see if I could move,” he said.
“It was dark. But in life you have to prepare for situations like this. I took control of my mind and tried not to panic.”
Naidoo’s close friend, Jarod Reddy, said he had been driving in front of him with Naidoo’s brother, Thishen. The two entered the canal and feared the worst when they saw the bakkie. Two other bystanders also assisted them.
Naidoo said he screamed to attract the attention of people. His brother tried to open the doors but they were crushed shut. Firemen used the jaws of life to cut the driver’s side door and frame and Naidoo slid out.
Garrith Jamieson of Rescue Care paramedics, said they used the Jaws of Life as well as other hydraulic equipment to free Naidoo.
“I jumped off as if nothing had happened,” Naidoo said.
“It was tiring to an extent to lie in that position. Paramedics were speaking to me throughout the ordeal,” Naidoo said.
Bantam bakkie driver, Sandile Mabutyana, said he had been waiting at the Alpine Road intersection to turn into Intersite Avenue when the Nissan slammed into him.
“On impact my head hit the windscreen. I felt pain on my forehead and hip. Metro police peeled off the licence disc and declared my car a write-off. It was agonising,” Mabutyana said.
Morga Naidoo said his son, Thishen, phoned him and called him to the scene.
“We did not know what condition he was in. I was on top of the world to see him walk out.
“To walk out was a miracle.
“As a parent you do not want your child to be injured. The headrest came through the cracked pieces of roof,” Morga said.
“He had lacerations and tissue damage on his right shoulder where he bore the impact.”
Naidoo said he used the interior roof light to locate personal and valuable items that he could come across.
“I used the light as a pillow and to keep me warm. It became very cold. My head and shoulders were above the water,” Naidoo said.