Picture: KZN Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison

Durban - A total of 19 people are believed to have been killed in a taxi accident near Pietermaritzburg, in KwaZulu-Natal.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said on Sunday morning that paramedics were at the scene.

The accident was believed to have occurred just before 11am.

He said 19 people had been killed and nine injured.

The taxi crashed into a bridge barrier and rolled down an embankment off the Main Road in the Mzunduzi Valley area outside Pietermaritzburg.

Paramedics, along with several other services, arrived on the scene and found the minibus lying on its roof at the bottom of the embankment. 

"Fifteen bodies were found lying around the vehicle. Paramedics assessed the patients and found that all fifteen had already succumbed to their multiple injuries. Nothing more could be done for them and they were declared dead on the scene."

He said that paramedics had been informed that members of the community had rushed approximately 12 patients to a nearby clinic roughly 100m away.

"Upon arrival, paramedics found that twelve patients lying in the clinic being treated by their staff. Assessments showed that five had sustained critical injuries while the remaining had sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious."

Paramedics treated the patients and provided the critically injured with advanced life support interventions.

"Unfortunately, after some time, three critically injured patients succumbed to their injuries and were declared dead."

The remaining patients were transported by various services to nearby hospitals for urgent care.

"The cause of the collision is not yet known but local authorities were on the scene for further investigations."

Meanwhile on Saturday, three people were killed and one critically injured in an accident on the KZN North Coast.

IPSS Medical Rescue’s Paul Herbst said two vehicles collided on the N2 freeway, before the Zinkwazi on-ramp. 

Three pedestrians who were walking on the side of the freeway were hit by one of the vehicles during the collision. All three died.

“Two people in the first vehicle were entrapped and required the Kwadukuza fire department to use the jaws of life to free them, whilst under the care off IPSS Medical Rescue's advanced life support paramedics,” Herbst said, “Once freed, the critically injured patient was intubated and placed on a ventilator”.

The Mercury