Durban: A birthday celebration turned tragic after a Chatsworth family died in a car crash on the N2 on Friday night.
Shaun Pillay, 57, his wife Linda, 52, and their daughters, Shadel, 22, and Lucelle, 18, of Westcliff, died after their Tata Super Ace bakkie crashed into a stationary horse and trailer.
Seven other family members, including a three-year-old child, were at the back of the bakkie. They survived but sustained multiple injuries and were taken to the hospital.
Garrith Jamieson, from ALS Paramedics, said the deceased were trapped in the wreckage. He said the eThekwini Municipality's fire department used the Jaws of Life and other hydraulic tools to free them.
Ozborn Manuel, a relative, said the incident occurred just before 8pm.
"They were heading to Suncoast Casino to celebrate a relative's birthday. Shaun was driving. Linda and Lucelle were in the front passenger seats, and Shadel was at the back with their seven relatives.
"Shaun was on the second lane of the N2, just before the Spaghetti Junction. While on the lane, he crashed into a stationary horse and trailer that was being repaired. There were no lights or a warning sign, like a triangle, to caution motorists.
"Shaun, Linda and Lucelle were crushed to death, while Shadel sustained multiple injuries. They died at the scene. The rest of the family was taken to the hospital. Some of them have head injuries, some fractures, and internal bleeding."
He said the couple had another daughter.
"She did not go with them that night. Losing one member of your family is difficult, but you come to terms with it. But with four members gone, it will take a longer time to heal. As a family, we are trying to be strong and keep our faith."
Manuel said Shaun and Linda had a tuckshop.
"They were humble people. They loved helping others. When customers could not afford to pay for their groceries, Shaun and Linda never turned them away. They, instead, allowed them to pay when they had the money."
He said Shadel was unemployed, and Lucelle had just matriculated.
"They were wonderful, respectful women and were humble, like their parents."
Pillay said the date for the funerals had not been finalised.
Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, confirmed a case of culpable homicide was being investigated.