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Eight die in bakkie crash

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The accident happened while the family members were on their way from Cape Town to a funeral in Prieska

TRAGEDY: The smashed Ford Bantam bakkie in which the family was travelling.

A MOTOR vehicle accident, which claimed the lives of eight family members who were on their way to bury a loved one, was the third successive tragedy to hit a Prieska family.

The accident happened while the family members were on their way from Cape Town to a funeral in Prieska.

Kortman Steenkamp and his wife Petronella, Stephan Marea and his wife Magdalena (who is Kortman’s sister), Jack Davids and his wife Emma, as well as Magdalena’s daughter, Lizette Steenkamp, and her cousin, Magda Steenkamp, were killed when the bakkie in which they were travelling in was involved in an accident near Britstown on Saturday morning at around 6.45am.

Only one occupant of the vehicle, Jujette Witbooi, survived the accident.

According to a spokesperson for the family, Elmarie Witbooi, the family members from Cape Town were on their way to Prieska to attend the funeral of her brother, Johannes Vass.

Vass had died on the day of their cousin’s child’s funeral earlier in the month.

“My cousin’s son was shot and killed in Cape Town on January 26 and he was buried on February 3 in Prieska. On the morning of the funeral, my brother was not feeling well and we took him to the hospital. The doctors said he had to be rushed to Kimberley and my brother’s son left for Kimberley with him as we had to continue with the funeral.

“On their way to Kimberley, my brother started coughing blood. They tried to stabilise him but he died just a few moments after they arrived in Kimberley.

“We received the news of his passing as we were heading home from the cemetery in Prieska,” said Elmarie.

She said that while they were busy with the preparations for her brother’s funeral, little did they know that even more tragedy was to follow.

“The family from Cape Town received news of my brother’s passing and were on their way to his funeral (in Prieska).

“As we were walking into the church for my brother’s funeral, we heard that there had been an accident. We did not know that so many people had died. We again had to carry on with funeral while some family members rushed to the scene of the accident.

“We were later informed that six people died on the scene and another person died on their way to hospital, while an eighth person died on Sunday,” Elmarie said.

She added that they were still trying to piece together the details of the accident.

“The person who survived said that she saw a kudu in the road but cannot remember what happened next.”

Elmarie said that so many deaths in such a short period of time was extremely difficult to deal with, and the surviving family members would have to draw closer together to support each other.

“This is very hard to deal with. We have been hit hard as a family. We will have to assess ourselves and see what God is trying to tell us, as this is not a normal situation. We have lost so many family members in such a short period of time.

“It is truly heartbreaking as our mourning is never-ending.”

She said that they are busy with the preparations for the funerals.

“At this stage we are not sure where the deceased will be buried. They are all originally from Prieska, however, some of them were married and living in Cape Town.”

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, said that police are investigating a case of culpable homicide.

“The police are investigating a culpable homicide after eight people died in a motor vehicle accident on the N12 near Britstown. The accident took place on February 10, at about 6.45am, while the nine adult occupants of a Ford Bantam bakkie were en route from Cape Town to Prieska, to attend a funeral.

“It is believed that the bakkie collided with the side of a bridge, which caused some parts of the bakkie to be ripped apart. The front part of the bakkie, with three deceased, was found at the bottom of the bridge. The bodies of three other occupants were found on top of the bridge, while one person died in hospital and another en route to hospital.

“Altogether, five females and three males died in the accident. One female is currently receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Kimberley.

“The investigation continues,” said Kock.