Family of seven killed in horror accident on N1
The dead included four adults and three children, the youngest aged just 18 months.
Two trucks and nine motor vehicles were involved in the horrific accident. All the vehicles were gutted by the blaze.
Initial reports had indicated that only two people died in the accident, which happened at about 11am. However, more bodies were discovered as rescue officers sifted through the wreckage.
It was chaos at the scene for most of yesterday afternoon with glass and metal and other debris scattered over the road, while emergency personnel worked relentlessly to douse the fires.
At the same time, emergency workers picked through the burnt and severely squashed cars to retrieve the bodies. Numerous beer packs which were from one of the delivery trucks lay scattered on the ground.
It took eight hours to clear the scene.
Tshwane Emergency Services spokesperson Charles Mabaso said the accident may have been caused by poor visibility because of grass fires causing billowing smoke across the road.
A taxi driver who stopped at the side of the road said he saw the tragedy coming. “The visibility was terrible and hence I decided to pull over on the side of the road. My passengers started complaining and coughing and I was forced to stop. Just a few minutes after we had stopped, we heard a thump and tyres screeching and saw a huge flame.”
Authorities said 15 other people who had minor injuries were treated on the scene. Seven who sustained major injuries were taken to various hospitals in the vicinity.
According to Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, the family members who died were travelling in a Toyota Avanza.
The Avanza was trapped underneath a truck. One truck was completely burnt out while firemen managed to extinguish the fire in the second.
Traffic was badly affected in the area as motorists tried to find alternative ways around the scene. The N1 was closed in both directions between Pumulani Plaza and Wallmansthal. Traffic on the N1 North was diverted to N4 Doornpoort off-ramp, while the traffic from N1 South was diverted to the Wallmansthal off-ramp. Motorists were forced to use the R101 which was also backed up.