A truck driver lost his life and two other drivers escaped unharmed when three trucks were involved in an accident on the N3 near Germiston on Friday afternoon, the Ekurhuleni disaster and emergency management services said.
The crash occurred shortly before 15h00 on the N3 northbound between the Elands and Geldenhuys interchanges, and the driver of one of the trucks was killed instantly, Ekurhuleni EMS spokesman William Ntladi said in a statement.
Five of the seven lanes on the highway were completely closed, negatively affecting the traffic flow throughout the peak hour traffic period, he said.
The city’s emergency services received the call out at 14h58 and a DEMS rescue team from Germiston central fire station responded to the scene of the accident.
On arrival, they found a truck driver motionless and still trapped behind the steering wheel of his truck, while the drivers of the other two trucks escaped without visible injuries.
The deceased truck driver’s vehicle was loaded with about 4 000 litres of flammable ethanol in four 1000 litre containers. One of the containers had ruptured and had already spilled its contents all over the scene, Ntladi said.
The second truck had been transporting about 3.6 tons of xanthates granules, which were also flammable. The third, an articulate truck, was fully loaded with bags of cement.
The trapped driver was extricated from the wreckage by rescue personnel using hydraulic “jaws-of-life” equipment. The man was then declared deceased on the scene by paramedics.
It was alleged that an articulate truck had a mechanical breakdown and was stationary in the middle of the freeway. Two oncoming trucks then crashed into the stationary truck, one after the other, killing the driver of the first truck.
“All relevant resources were called to the scene, including a water tanker and a foam tender from the local fire station due to the hazardous chemicals and fire risk identified.”
The scene was later handed over to Ekurhuleni metropolitan police officers for road rehabilitation and investigations, Ntladi said.