Risky overtaking blamed for crash

The bus driver involved in Tuesday's accident near Mariental had braked so hard to avoid crashing into an overtaking bakkie that a tyre burst.

08 June 2018 | Accidents

Preliminary investigations indicate that the head-on collision between a bus and a double-cab bakkie between Mariental and Keetmanshoop on Tuesday, which killed four people, could be linked to risky overtaking.

Ronnie Coleman of Coleman Transport told Namibian Sun yesterday that an initial investigation by accident scene examiners, in addition to witness accounts, indicate that the bus suffered a tyre burst after the driver had to suddenly brake hard when he realised an oncoming bakkie that was overtaking a vehicle would not be able to avoid colliding into it.

The bus was transporting 32 contract workers from a Rosh Pinah mine, driving in the direction of Mariental, while the double cab bakkie, with four occupants, was driving towards Keetmanshoop.

Coleman said the company had flown in an accident examiner from South Africa yesterday to examine the scene and determine the cause of the accident.

He said the skid marks left by the bus indicate that it had skidded for about 30 metres, causing the right front tyre to lose its tread and burst.

Despite the driver's attempt to avoid a collision with the oncoming car, the vehicles crashed into each other, causing the bakkie to be ripped apart while the bus landed on its side. According to the police, the impact was so severe that the bakkie was torn apart, instantly killing the four occupants.

According to Coleman, of the 32 persons on board the bus, two sustained serious injuries requiring them to be transported on an emergency flight to Windhoek's Lady Pohamba Private Hospital.

The rest of the passengers were immediately examined by E-Med Rescue and other medics on the scene and transported to Mariental for further examination.

One of the two most seriously injured, the bus driver, is scheduled to be discharged from hospital today, Coleman said. Another seriously injured person was one of the mine workers, and both are stable.

Coleman yesterday praised the response of medical personnel from E-Med Rescue, Lady Pohamba Private Hospital, the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund and state hospital personnel from nearby towns who attended to the scene, located approximately 120km from Mariental towards Keetmanshoop.

“As tragic as this scene was, with the loss of four lives, all there handled it extremely professionally and well,” he said.

He said the service of E-Med and Lady Pohamba Hospital was “exceptional”.

“The accident scene had been cleaned and cleared within three to four hours after the crash. Everyone was examined at the Mariental state hospital and released.”

JANA-MARI SMITH

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