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Durban - Six children and an adult were injured when a retaining wall collapsed on to them in Quarry Heights, Durban, on Monday.
The children, all neighbours, were helping homeowner Busisiwe Shabane fill in sand behind a brick retaining wall.
According to Khayakazi Luthuli, her mother and the children were clearing a piece of ground in front of the wall and throwing the rubble and sand behind it to make the embankment level with the house.
Luthuli said the wall collapsed on top of them. Shabane was hurt on her arm as she tried to stop bricks from falling on to her head.
The wall fell on two of the children, while the others managed to run away. Children playing in the vicinity watched from the embankment above.
They were trying to clear the rubble in front of the wall in order to make a floor, later to be developed into a church.
Two children were trapped under the wall. Neighbours rushed to lift the rubble and free the children. One child was lying face down with a piece of the wall on her back.
Nandile Soji, 14, said he heard a rumbling noise and ran towards the road. When he turned back, he saw his friends were hurt.
The injured were taken to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
Nondumiso Ndlovu, 6, was hurt on her head and knees. She had bandages on her wounds. Her sister, Sthe Ndlovu, 9, was treated for facial injuries and bruises to her arms.
The four other children were not immediately identified.
The children were beginning the first-term holidays. Caphius Shabane said he was shocked when he heard that the wall had fallen on his wife.
He said the family had planned to build a church in their front yard.
“We needed to strengthen the bank which was on the verge of collapsing. Our house, which is on top of the bank, will collapse if the sand erodes any more.
“We put tyres there, but they fell with the recent rains. We built two retaining walls with hollow cement blocks two weeks ago, but they both cracked and began slanting. We broke down one of the retaining walls and rebuilt it three days ago,” he said.
When the Daily News visited the site, paramedics had cordoned off the area. Two large pieces of the wall, six blocks high, lay strewn on the floor.
Big boulders and tyres could be seen protruding from the embankment.