Family members of the 13 minibus passengers who died in a horrific crash on Wednesday say they are devastated and traumatized after seeing visuals of the crash on social media platforms. The 13, including a new-born baby, were amongst the 16 people who died in a collision between a truck and a minibus between Melmoth and uLundi.
The other three deceased include the truck driver and his two passengers. Just two weeks ago, 13 people from one family also lost their lives when their minibus crashed near Bulwer in southern Drakensberg.
The minibus was transporting people from Nongoma to Durban when it collided with a truck and caught alight. It’s alleged that the truck driver was speeding and lost control crashing into the minibus before rolling down an embankment.
[BREAKING] According to reports just in, approx 13 People have tragically lost their lives in yet another fatal road accident in the province.
This particular accident took place on the R66 between Ulundi & Melmoth, apparently between a minibus taxi & a truck. pic.twitter.com/AlisZD1v0P
— KZN Provincial Gov (@kzngov) October 21, 2020
Amongst the deceased is 56-year-old recently retired teacher Phemba Ndwandwe who was on his way to Durban to update details on his medical aid.
His family described him as a loving husband and a father who was looking forward to enjoying his retirement.
His sister Ntombizodwa Qwabe says they heard the news of his death before authorities informed them.
Qwabe says it was torture for the family not knowing if Ndwandwe was still inside the burning vehicle.
“We are saddened by the loss of my brother. He retired last year and that morning, he decided to take a taxi instead of driving. It is really painful looking at the pictures and videos on social media. Looking at those pictures, we didn’t know if he was still burning in the taxi or he’s one of those scattered on the road with the others.”
Authorities visited families of the people who were killed in the minibus to officially notify them of their loss.
Nongoma Mayor Albert Mncwango says families will start the identification process on Thursday.
“We are now visiting families to confirm their loss. It’s a very difficult exercise, but we are doing it now. There are almost 13 families that we are going to be visiting. Tomorrow, we’re also going to have a meeting with families to identify the bodies and collect the belongings of the deceased.”
Mncwango also urged people to be sensitive in what they post on social media.
“I must say we are extremely disappointed as the community of Nongoma because even before families were properly informed about what happened, this accident was already trending on social media and I had to deal with situations where the children of the deceased who had seen their parents actually strewn all over the road screaming to me wanting me to confirm whether indeed what they’d seen on social media were their parents.”
Authorities have urged motorists to exercise caution on the roads.
In the video below, KZN EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie gives more details about the accident: