A wedding celebration ended in tragedy for three Durban families when their loved ones were killed in a horror accident on the North Coast in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Two married couples, Alri and Michael-John Bezuidenhout and Lundie and Ian Angles, were returning to a Ballito guesthouse when a truck belonging to a soft drink company collided with their vehicle at an unlit intersection in Compensation, Stanger.
The couples had spent the evening at a high school friend’s wedding and were looking forward to their weekend break at the coast.
The Sunday Tribune spoke to the grieving families at their Bluff homes. Rina du Plessis, the mother of 30-year-old Alri, said that after the reception, she had left with her husband, Albertus.
“The wedding of their friends, Janine and Pieter Turner, was beautiful and Alri and Lundie looked lovely.
“They had all been friends since primary school.
“Our children were driving back to the Regal Inn guesthouse when the accident happened.
“I couldn’t believe it when the police called us, because we had just seen them all alive,” said Rina.
Both women went to Durban Academy and matriculated together.
Alri, who worked for South African Bulk Terminals, had been married to Michael-John for six years. He was a financial consultant for the Road Accident Fund.
“My daughter was the soul of every party. She certainly lived her life, and she had a heart of gold and was always willing to help others,” Albertus du Plessis said.
Tiaan du Plessis, Alri’s younger brother, said he was going to miss his sister and brother-in-law.
“My sister and I were best friends and got on like a house on fire and Michael-John was like a real brother to me. We spent such good times together,” he said.
Willa and Michael Bezuidenhout, Michael-John’s parents, said words could not describe how they felt.
“We adopted him when he was a month old. He was our everything, and now he is just gone. God lent him to us for 30 years; it is unbelievable,” Willa said, tears coursing down her cheeks.
“My son loved to play golf and I was his favourite partner. Being his father has given me the best years of my life. He loved to laugh. Just look at his pictures,” said Michael.
“The police say the area they were travelling through had no street lights and the roads were under construction. I want to visit the scene. Maybe it will give me a little peace.”
It is believed the couples left the wedding at around midnight and died half-an-hour later.
According to paramedics who attended the scene, Lundie, Ian and Michael-John died on impact. Alri had critical injuries and died later at Stanger Hospital.
Lundie’s mother, Doreen van Niekerk, said she felt she was trapped in a nightmare.
“My daughter came down from Secunda for the wedding, and because it is her birthday on Wednesday, we were going to celebrate with lunch at the beach, her favourite place.”
The Angles leave their four-year-old daughter, Alexis, who was unaware of what had happened.
During the interview with her grandparents, the little girl ran around the house, at one point saying, in Afrikaans: “Look! That’s my Daddy’s suitcase. We are on holiday.”
“My daughter and her husband were perfect together. They both worked for Sasol and she was studying for her BA Applied Psychology degree.
“I am devastated at their loss but I know that they are with God because of the sort of lives they lived. God has his reasons for what he does; but I don’t understand his reason for this,” said Van Niekerk.
Investigations into the cause of the accident continue.
Netcare’s Chris Botha said: “On arriving at the scene we found the crumpled remains of the car. Upon further investigation we found the deceased and one living victim.
“Sadly she lost her life shortly afterwards.”
The truck driver was not hurt.
Family members from as far afield as New Zealand are expected to arrive in SA this week.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised. - Tribune