File picture: Skyler Reid

Ekurhuleni – Police are searching for an unidentified vehicle which allegedly caused a pile-up in which five people were killed instantly and two more critically injured in Alberton, Ekurhuleni in the early hours of Sunday morning, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) said.

RTMC spokesperson Simon Zwane said the accident happened when "five vehicles got involved in a multiple-vehicle, head rear type of crash".
 
"Preliminary investigations indicate that one of the vehicles was driving slowly on the left lane when an unidentified vehicle collided with it from the rear causing all the vehicles in front to collide. The unidentified vehicle fled the scene and police are looking for it," Zwane said.

The RTMC had initiated an investigations to establish the precise cause of the crash. The vehicles had already been examined to determine if they had mechanical faults that could have contributed to the crash, Zwane said.

Earlier, Ekurhuleni disaster and emergency management services (DEMS) spokesperson William Ntladi said DEMS had responded to a crash alarm on the R59 freeway northbound just before the Swartkoppies turn-off at about 2.45am.

On arrival, it was found that three cars were involved in a crash. In one hatchback, six occupants were accounted for and still trapped inside the wreck. 

“Five occupants, including the driver, were declared deceased while the sixth with critical injuries was transported to a medical facility for further treatment. One other patient hospitalised with critical injuries as well was the driver from the other hatchback vehicle.” 

A rescue team from emergency services had to use specialised rescue tools to recover the dead and injured from one wrecked vehicle. An inquest docket had been opened with the Ekurhuleni metro police department, Ntladi said.