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A coal truck hurtled into 17 cars after its brakes failed on the N3 on Monday night. There were no deaths and only minor injuries.
“All I saw was this truck with a bakkie stuck to the front grille, smashing cars out of the way,” said Alvin Naicker, 23, who was on his way to Sandton from OR Tambo International Airport.
“We heard the crashes and saw it coming from far away, but there was nowhere to go. We were in bumper-to-bumper traffic,” he said.
Beginning under Marlboro Road Bridge, shattered windscreens, bent bumpers and bits of metal lined the tarmac for 300m.
Almost every car over the four lanes involved was hit from the rear, having been in rush-hour 6.30pm traffic heading north.
That is all except one white bakkie, which was bent into an “S” shape.
“I hit that bakkie about 100m away and it buffered the truck against other cars,” said truck driver Johannes Santawane.
Witnesses said the driver of the bakkie walked out of the wreckage and was taken to hospital with minor cuts and bruises.
“I tried to stop, but the brakes’ air pump cut. I swerved from the left lane to the far-right lane trying to avoid cars,” said Santawane. “This is my first accident in 40 years’ driving,” he said.
“I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the truck swerving from left to right,” said Nonhlanhla Teffo, who was driving home to Midrand.
Metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar said: “The truck and trailer’s brakes failed and the driver lost control.” Four people sustained minor injuries.
“The truck’s licence will be confiscated until it can pass roadworthy tests,” Minnaar said.