Kimberley - Just days after the launch of the national Arrive Alive Campaign in Kimberley, five people were killed in a horror crash on the Barkly West road, about 10km outside the city.
All five occupants of the one vehicle, which was unrecognisable, were killed on impact. Local miner, Hennie van Wyk, 42, and his 11-year-old son, Ruaan, who were travelling in a Toyota Cruiser bakkie, were admitted to a Kimberley hospital.
It is believed that the driver of the green 1.8 Audi, Sergeant Ledger Kale, was on his way from Barkly West to Kimberley, when a tyre burst and he lost control of the vehicle.
His brother, Warrant Officer Kale, on Monday said that it was suspected that the Audi swerved in front of the Toyota bakkie.
The Audi was ripped apart on impact and the two halves were flung at least 20 metres apart. Parts of the vehicle were strewn across the road and in the adjacent veld.
A friend of Kale, Tshepo Marwane, was also killed in the accident, as well as three other people, one of whom is believed to be a woman. It appears as if the three had caught a lift to Kimberley.
Traffic on the road was backed up for almost a kilometre and the road was closed for more than three hours, as police and emergency personnel cleared the bodies and the wreckage from the scene.
Police were forced to use police dogs to keep curious onlookers at bay while rescuers retrieved body parts strewn across the accident scene.
Kale, 40, leaves behind his father and five siblings, four sisters and his brother.
Details of the other three passengers remained sketchy on Monday as police were still trying to determine the identities of some of the dead after only one identity document was found on the scene.
Spokeswoman for the Kimberley MediClinic, Denise Coetzee, said that Van Wyk and his son were in a stable condition and were due to be operated on late yesterday afternoon. Van Wyk, a well-known local digger and owner of the Good Hope farm just outside Barkly West, sustained a fracture and lacerations to his leg and face, while his son sustained a mandible fracture.
Police spokesman, Lieutenant Donald Mdhluli, confirmed on Monday that a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.
“It is alleged that the Audi was attempting to overtake another vehicle when it collided with the Toyota bakkie. All five occupants in the Audi were declared dead on the scene, while the two occupants of the bakkie sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.”
The investigation continues.
MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Patrick Mabilo, said yesterday’s accident was a tragic start to the Arrive Alive Campaign, which was launched in Kimberley on Friday by National Transport Minister Dikobe Ben Martins.
“It is a tragedy to have such a huge fatality right at the start of our Arrive Alive Campaign and this is a terrible loss to the families. Our prayers and thoughts go out to them,” he said.
Mabilo added that individual responsibility remained the key to preventing deaths on the country’s roads.
“From our side we will ensure that there are traffic officials on all major routes in the Province and regular roadblocks will be held.”
He said he was confident that the Arrive Alive Campaign would be effective.
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