Six people were killed and eight others were seriously injured when a minibus taxi veered out of control and plunged hundreds of metres down a steep embankment in the KwaNgcolosi area near Inanda Dam in Hillcrest in Durban just before 10am on Sunday morning. Picture: Rescue Care

Durban - Six people were killed and eight others were seriously injured when a minibus taxi veered out of control and plunged hundreds of metres down a steep embankment in the KwaNgcolosi area near Inanda Dam in Hillcrest in Durban just before 10am on Sunday morning, paramedics said.

Rescue Care and Vema paramedics arrived on the scene to find carnage, Rescue Care spokesman Garrith Jamieson said.

A minibus taxi carrying 14 people had "somehow lost control and rolled down a steep embankment coming to rest approximately 1km below". 

Immediately more ambulances, advanced life support paramedics and rescuers from the South African Police Service (SAPS), Durban metro search and rescue, and fire department were dispatched to assist.

"Paramedics had to walk approximately 2km down the mountain to the crash site. Once there, they found multiple patients who had been ejected from the taxi as it rolled down.

"Despite advanced life support paramedics intervention, due to the severity of their injuries six occupants had sustained major injuries and passed away at the scene. Due to the inaccessibility by vehicle to the scene, the Lenmed 1 Aeromedical Helicopter with rescue capability was called to assist.

Video: Rescue Care

"Rescue medics from IPSS were then lowered on a line from the helicopter to lift the patients up to the roadside where they were then rapidly transported to hospital. The Lenmed 1 helicopter brought all the occupants from the wreckage."

Eight people who had all sustained serious injuries were stabilised on the scene before being transported to various Durban hospitals for the further care that they required. The rescue operation lasted about eight hours and left both rescuers and patients severely dehydrated. SAPS would investigate the crash, Jamieson said.

African News Agency/ANA