A tragic accident occurred on Sunday evening on the N9 near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape, resulting in the death of fifteen individuals, including a baby and a toddler.
The accident involved a taxi and a heavy-duty truck.
According to Unathi Binqose, the spokesperson for the provincial Department of Transport, the truck collided with a stray animal while en route to the Eastern Cape, causing the driver to lose control.
Consequently, the trailer of the truck overturned and landed on top of a fully-loaded taxi traveling in the opposite direction.
All fifteen victims who lost their lives were passengers in the taxi.
The driver of the truck sustained minor injuries and managed to escape.
The deceased include nine women, four men, and two baby girls aged two months and two years.
The accident occurred at approximately 11:00 pm. Binqose explained, “The trailer crushed the taxi, killing everybody inside it.”
SurgeZirc SA learned that the victims had recently attended a funeral and were on their way back to Cape Town, indicating a close relationship among them, whether through blood or friendship.
A case of culpable homicide has been opened at the Middelburg police station, and further investigation is underway.
Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, the provincial police commissioner, expressed her condolences to the families of the victims.
She stated, “SAPS management in the Eastern Cape deeply regrets the loss of so many lives. The sudden and tragic loss of loved ones is truly devastating, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families as they navigate through this unimaginable grief.”