In a series of unfortunate events, Durban’s N2 highway became the site of a catastrophic tanker explosion and a separate tragic crash, both leading to significant disruptions and loss of life. The incidents, occurring on December 24, have put the city’s emergency response teams to the test and caused major traffic disruptions.
The Tanker Explosion
A fuel tanker, carrying petrol and diesel, exploded on the N2 north near Edwin Swales Drive in south Durban. The explosion, reportedly caused by a rear tyre burst, resulted in a massive fire. Fortunately, the driver escaped unharmed. However, the incident led to the closure of the northbound lanes of the highway, with only two lanes later opened for traffic. The southbound lanes, while open, faced significant delays. Emergency services, including multiple fire engines, were dispatched to the scene to tackle the blaze. The driver, who sustained minor injuries, was stabilized on the scene before being transported to a nearby hospital.
The Separate Crash
In a separate incident on the same day, a tragic crash occurred on the N3 near Ladysmith, claiming the lives of five people and critically injuring two, including a young child. The crash involved two vehicles and resulted in the deceased and injured being transported to nearby facilities for further care.
Impact and Response
These incidents have had a profound impact on road transit in Durban. The tanker explosion, in particular, caused major disruptions on the N2 highway, a key route in the region. Motorists were advised to find alternative routes as emergency services managed the situation. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Durban Fire Department and SAPS.
The incidents have drawn significant attention on social media, with footage of the tanker explosion being widely circulated. News outlets like eNCA, News24, and BNN Breaking have provided extensive coverage of these events, highlighting the challenges faced by emergency responders and the impact on the public.
These tragic events serve as a stark reminder of the unpredictability of road travel and the importance of road safety measures. As Durban recovers from this double tragedy, the focus remains on supporting the injured and the families of the deceased, while also ensuring the safety of all road users.