Teary memorial service for taxi accident victims

Teary memorial service for taxi accident victims

MASERU – ALMOST every one wept.
There were groans, sobs and outright wailings at the Ministry of Health auditorium as a survivor of a recent horrific accident that claimed 12 Basotho lives narrated how it happened.
This was the emotional memorial service for 12 people who were burnt beyond recognition earlier this month when their taxis overturned and caught fire in Bethlehem, Free State.
The memorial service was held yesterday.

’Malephallo Abele, popularly known as Small, moved nearly everybody in the hall to tears when she narrated the details of the accident.
Abele said she survived because she had exchanged seats with an elderly woman who said she should sit in the front seat.

The Basotho informal traders were travelling to South Africa in two taxis to buy stock. The accident happened near Bethlehem.
“The BMW crashed on the Super Custom taxi. While I was amazed and wondering what was happening I instantly heard another bang, this time on our taxi,” Abele said.
“I looked but I could not see what was happening. My consciousness came back when I heard loud cries of other passengers and I felt that something was burning. I also heard a hissing sound. Immediately someone said “Oh God we are dying”. I however responded and asked: “We are dying, how?”

I opened my eyes and saw wheels from above and felt my hand on the floor part. I felt soil but to my surprise I saw a big light which was fire and I said: “Oh God are we going to die in this horrific manner, wide awake?”
As she said this, Abele could no longer suppress her emotions.

She had been narrating the incident between sobs but when she talked about the realization that they were dying she wept loudly and uncontrollably.
“I immediately remembered that my father had died and he was still at a mortuary and I said: “Dad why did you leave me, did you not want me to mourn you or rather bury you?”
“I laid my life in God’s hands and covered my face with a jersey so that I could only feel the moment when fire covers me. I then saw a passerby walking around the car but he could hear my voice. He however saw my stretched hand and pulled me from the car.”

The man had to break the windscreen to pull me outside and threw her a distance away from the vehicle.
“Immediately after, the taxi exploded. The cries of the other passengers stopped immediately.
“The Good Samaritan was confused and rushed to the back of the car and broke the emergency window and managed to rescue four others. They were no longer recognizable and were still ablaze. When the firefighters arrived it was too late.

Machesetsa Mofomobe, the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs, spoke with a shaky voice as he explained that the South Africa government promised to make a waiver that the DNA tests be carried out within 28 days.
The Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Mokherane Tsatsanyane pleaded with the public and taxi owners to avoid over filling the tanks of their vehicles at filling stations.

Tokase Mphutlane

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