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Survivor tells of hell ride on Greyhound bus that killed 6 people near Richmond

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A Cape Town man who was on board the Greyhound bus that was involved in a head-on crash with a bakkie killing six people on the N1 near Richmond on Tuesday night has told of what a ‘hell ride’ it was.

Sphamandla Zondi says that the journey started on Monday afternoon and was supposed to be a smooth 21 hours journey in the famous Greyhound Luxurious coach, after all, it had cost him a massive R1000. But, it ended ‘prematurely’ after 31 hours and still 645km before the intended destination when the bus collided head-on with a bakkie.

Zondi expressed his dismay at the way Greyhound handled troubles along his journey and after the unfortunate accident.

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“Firstly, the bus left Durban at 12h00, which was 25 minutes after the stated departure time”

Airbag breakdown

“When we arrived at Bethlehem around 20h00, the bus driver told us the bus had developed problems with the airbags which was causing the bus to touch the ground as we moved”

“We had to wait from 20h00 to 01h00 the following morning for the mechanic to arrive. The mechanic fixed the problem and we only took off at 04h00 which translated to an 8-hour delay”

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“When we got to Bloemfontein at 10h00, the bus had a tyre burst on the N1”

“I was so disappointed as the bus was supposed to have arrived in Cape Town at 09h15”

“We had to wait up to 13h00 for the tyre people to arrive”

Engine problems

“After the tyre was replaced, the bus developed another problem, it could not start,” said Zondi.

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He said that together with other passengers they suggested that the driver request a replacement bus as the one they had was clearly not going to make it to Cape Town.

Zondi said that the driver told them it was management who will decide as he couldn’t ask for a new bus but he would wait for a response from management.

“We had to wait again for a mechanic to fix the bus”

greyhound bus breakdown

“At 16h00, the mechanic was done and we were back on the road but not for long,”

Head-on crash

“Less than 4 hours and as we approached Richmond, our bus collided head-on with a bakkie,” said Zondi.

“I saw everything as I was seating in the front seat on the top deck. The bus driver was overtaking an articulated truck with a red container but could not successfully finish overtaking after the truck accelerated. The bus couldn’t go back to its lane in time and crashed head-on with a bakkie,” he said.

“It happened so fast in my eyes, the bus driver hit the brakes and tried to swerve away from the bakkie but unfortunately it was too late to avoid impact. The bus collided head-on with the bakkie and overturned resting on its side next to a bridge at Richmond,” Zondi narrated.

Six people died in the horrific crash including the driver of the bakkie and five of his passengers. A total of 14 people were injured in the crash including two people from the bakkie and 12 from the bus.

There were no fatalities on the bus. The bus driver survived with serious injuries.

“I did not feel any pain immediately after the crash and didn’t go with the ambulance but when I got home I felt pain on my back and waist which have now immobilised me,” Zondi said.

“My back is very painful, my waist can’t move and my foot is swollen and the doctor has advised I go for an x-ray,” he added.

“Since the accident happened on Tuesday until now, Greyhound has not contacted me to show they care,” Zondi said speaking to this reporter on Sartuday 2 July.

He said that none of the passengers were provided a doctor or therapy after arriving in Cape Town after the horrific experience.

“Together with other victims, we have tried to contact Greyhound but they keep telling us to email them but with no response,” Zondi said.

This reporter also sent messages to Greyhound but did not get any responses.

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