Another Horrifying accident that I was involved in. This is my account of what happened in 1992 Bus Accident
This a true story that happened to me 20 years ago. This happened just shortly after I received my Passenger Proffessional Driving Permit (PDP) in the Post Apartheid era here in South Africa. My Late father Abdul Gannie Mallie (May Allah have mercy on him and grant him Janaah I.A). He was an Owner Bus Driver and he needed a Co- Driver (bus assistant, to complete the journey faster and efficiently). He called me into our study and told me "Son tomorrow (20/12/1992) I will be travelling around the South Africa for 3 Weeks, this is the End of Year South African Republic Tour. You have just received your license and this would be a good experience for you. Do you want to go with?'. Boy was I excited as, I went with only once before, when I was still a minor. and I immeidately reminased. How we will be traveling to all South Africa's hot spots and famous destination. The Royal Swazi Spa, Sun City, Gold Coast, Durban's highlights, Wild Coast Sun Casino and the beautiful Garden Route. I shouted Yes, Yes , Yessssss. Most Definitely Yes.!! I was overwhelmed with excitement. Now I dome all the maintenance and mechanically assisted my Father, who was one of South Africa's first Qualified Coloured Motor Mechanic's. So the day prior to the departure. I personal done a complete maintenace of the tour bus a 1985 Mercebenz 1617 60 Seater Semi Luxury Tour Bus. I cleaned the newly installed large under carriage rear boot. I was still busy, the day of the departure, fitting in a new sound system and P.A System. When the time arrived for departure, I was tired.
But I was so excited and I wanted to impress my father by driving for a long period of time.(a worthy Co- driver). I wanted to accomplish the daunting task of sleep deprivation, this on the long and tiring open road from Cape Town to Durban.. But the long and open road plays tricks on your visual and mental ability.(Even thou we stopped every two hours on the side of the road or at nearby towns, just to move our feet around, take a leak or just smell the fresh- long distant driving is very taxing, especially at night with nothing but your vehicle headlight and at the crack of dawn-) I thought that I could stay up for 2 days without sleeping. Like I was use to studying cramming, all nighter before exams. But Its quite a different story when you must focus all your attention on driving, when the road is dark and desolate, with very little stimulation (boring open road) It was worst driving a Bus on the open road in the old South Africa, when the national speed limit for a bus was 60kmph. It was extremely exhausting. I could only reach as far as Beaufort West 450km from Cape Town 8 hrs straight driving, When I tapped on my Dad, who was was fast asleep (he was sleeping next to me, on the bus's front mounted engine cover). Told him I can't anymore. He laughed and Said: 'shame my boy', I thought you were "going to drive till in Durban (1.646km)". I shook my head and said: "No I can't anymore". I stopped at Beaufort West filling station and we exchange places, he carried on driving and I fell asleep. I woke up with my Dad still driving, and looking Dead tired 10 hrs. later in Windburg. I told my Dad that it was my turn and that I would take us straight into Durban without tapping on him again. He laughed and went to sleep again on the engine cover. .
We arrived in Bethlehem (1129Km) on our way to Durban. It was 3-4 o'clock in the morning between Bethlehem and Kwa-Zulu Natal, that area is notorious for its many hills. (In 90's the national road had only two lanes, one way up and one way down, with a narrow yellow border line.) As I was coming down the hill, this Black Ford Cortina travelling at high speed overtook the bus. in the oncoming traffic lane and stayed on that line. I was shouting at the driver of the Ford car while I was still in the drivers seat: 'are you crazy, I just hope that there is'nt any oncoming traffic'. this woke up most of the passengers and my Dad, as I sounded very excited. This Reckless, Inconsiderate and Dangerous Driver in the Ford stayed in that lane and carried on in the wrong lane without attempting to return back into the correct lane. Low and behold, an approaching head lights appeared on the top of the Hill in the pitch dark of the night. I started hooting my bus\s twin air hooters, but this driver, just carried on with out swerving away or showing any attempt to alter his direction, other than straight into the oncoming car. As the oncoming vehicle cleared the peak of the hill and started the descent. He was confronted with a pair of bright headlights. The Driver in the oncoming vehicle, immediately reacted by swerving to his left into the yellow barrier line, Just missing the Black Ford Cortina. This driver Ford Cortina still carried on driving and did so in the wrong lane till we could no longer see the car's back lights anymore.
The oncoming vehicle, was a Blue Ford Escort. The driver swerved so much into the yellow line, that he hit the steel barrier (steel barriers were there as there were very deep ditch's on both sides of the road). He hit that Steel Barrier at such a speed, that his car immediately started spinning out of control down the hill into my direction. I didn't know what to do. Should I stop? or should I drive faster, to try to avoid this on coming car? What should I do? this is playing in head as the car was approaching me, spinning and rolling out of control. Most of the people in the bus was awake and started screaming, to have seen the horrific crash into the steel barrier and now the out of control, rolling vehicle. But all this was happening so fast. My father shouted at me: 'drive', I was starting to slow down. He could see the impact happening long before the car even collided into us. He told me 'Yusuf, Drive faster'. I picked up speed just as the Car made Impact.(if I had to stop, the front of the bus would drop and decrease the Height from the Road allowing the spinning out of control vehicle to collide into us, through the front windscreen. I accelerated and this sudden surge of power, lifted the front . The front of the Bus lift up due to this sudden jolt of power allowing impact to occur mostly under the Bus). I was still in a speed as the vehicle went under the bus ripping away the front bumper with headlights, driver side steps and floor with my foot controls, it tore off one of the diesel tanks, and ripped off the back boot (a solid steel unit) with all the passengers luggage in. There was no foot controls to stop the bus. I immediately initiated the emergency brakes, to stop the run away bus.
When the bus finally came to rest, I looked over my shoulder and saw that all the passenger's were alright, I was relieved. I realized what happened and was concerned, if the Driver was safe. So I kicked on the driver side door, till it opened, it was jammed tight. I jumped out of the bus and rushed to the car. It was totally flat. I fell to the ground and started crying as I just killed someone. I was devastated. I sat down next to wreckage and and burst out crying. The passengers of the bus came to console me. The next town was just 10km from the scene of the accident and within 30 minutes a police patrol was on the scene of the accident. The police recognised the car, it was a local farmers vehcle that stayed just 5 km away, from the scene of the accident. 10 minutes later the police arrived with the farmers wife. As she got out of the police car she started screaming: "Pookie where is my Pookie" and immediately burst out crying yet again. I cried even more profusely and uncontrollable, while she was looking for husband (affectionately named Pookie), a few seconds later a Small Dog 'Chi wawa' came running towards her. She picked up the dog and said: "There's my Pookie", This way hysterically funny, all the passenger of the bus burst out laughing and said: she's was more concerned of her dog than her dead husband trapped in the wreckage'. The police officer approach me and ask if I was the driver, I cried and said: "Yes officer, I was driving, I wasn't drunk or tired nothing" He requested to see my driver's license which I did. He saw my license was in order. He gave it back. But he suddenly grabbed my hands (I was petrified) and pulled me close and consoled me. (I was shocked)He told me that I save all these people in bus. We were standing over a very deep ditch. He also told me that the driver of the wrecked vehicle was Alright. He flung out of the front windscreen on first impact with the Steel Barrier.
Everyone was relieved as there was nobody in the Wreckage. At that very moment it started raining. Everyone ran back into the bus. All the youngster started collecting all the luggage sprayed all over the Road and packed it into the bus. It was wet, dark and desolate, with only the Moonlight to keep us company. The Police took me to the Harrismith Police Station to lay the police report and testimony of the accident. We asked the police officer to please ask breakdown service to come early the morning to assist.. When my dad and I came back to the bus, the passenger's were asleep already and waited till morning to do any repairs..............
* Be vigilante of all road user's, Reckless, Irresponsible or drunk Motorist, Speeding Cyclist/Motorcyclist, Small Children, Senile Elderly, and Drunk Pedestrians
* Be cautious, always observe and monitor other road user's intention and try to predict out comes before it happens.
* If involved in an accident and its not your fault, you must claim compensation
* Don't be in a rush, you might be rushing to your own death
* When driving long distant, always take a break. Your mind can play silly tricks on you. Be vigilant
* Music is the best medicine for long distant driving, expecially if you engage in the songs and be interactive. you break the concentration of the boring road.
* When my passenger hear me sing they engaged and enjoyed my charismatic approach of driving while singing.
Follow my series of post of real and true life events. That has happened to me Yusuf Mallie. It took me along time to express my experience into words. But I hope it will enthrall you and scare you to the horrors that is Reality