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Durban - A broken man - that’s how the father of the 3-year-old who was crushed to death by a runaway grader, described himself on Thursday.
Sandile Ngcobo, 25, was making his final preparations for his son’s funeral.
“No parent should ever have to bury their child. It should have been me, not my son,” Ngcobo said, fighting to hold back the tears.
Ngcobo’s son, Wandile, was crushed under the tyre of a grader that rammed into their Edendale home on Tuesday morning, destroying the house, killing Wandile, and injuring Ngcobo and two other children in the house at the time.
Ngcobo, a single father, said he was bathing his little boy when tragedy struck.
“I was three steps away from him. I can’t believe I am never going to see his face again,” he said.
Ngcobo said he heard a noise from outside the house, and the next thing he knew the wall of the room was coming down around him.
“I was hit by bricks as the wall came crashing down on me and I was flung away by the grader and cut by the roof of the house.”
Ngcobo said he fought his way out of the debris to find his son, and was horrified to find that Wandile was lodged under the tyre of the grader.
“I gave no thought to myself or my pain. I just knew I needed to help my son. I tried to lift the tyre off him, to pull him to safety, but it was no use,” he said.
Ngcobo was admitted to hospital where he was treated for multiple lacerations and abrasions.
Wandile’s cousins, 2-year-old Anele and 3-year-old Alondwe, who were also injured in the incident, have been discharged from hospital.
Ngcobo said funeral arrangements for his son had been finalised and Wandile would be buried in Sweetwaters tomorrow.
The owner of the grader, Kushal Deeplaul, of Deeplaul’s Transport and Plant Hire, a company contracted by the Msunduzi municipality, said the company would foot the bill for the funeral.
“This is a tragedy that has affected us all. Anything we can do to help, we will,” Deeplaul said.
It is believed the grader crashed into the house after the driver experienced mechanical problems.
The 71-year-old driver was also injured in the accident.