Moment truck hits school van killing 18 children in South Africa (2024)

Distressing video shows the horrific moment a 55-tonne truck plowed into the front of a car carrying 18 schoolchildren, killing all on board, after hurtling down the wrong side of the road in South Africa.

In a case that shocked the country, dashcam footage from the cabin of the truck shows the huge vehicle hurtling down the wrong side of the road as oncoming traffic veers out of the way.

The HGV, carrying a whopping 34 tonnes of coal, overtakes fifteen vehicles before smashing headfirst into a much smaller Toyota Station Wagon at more than 60mph.

School-run driver Lethukuthula Nkonyane, 19, and passenger school teacherZinhle Mkhize, 28, were killed instantly as the 55-ton truck plowed into them.

Eighteen schoolchildren aged between five and 12 lost their lives as the truck dragged the car some 220metres down the road.

Driver Sibusiso Siyaya, 28, was today convicted on 20 murder charges over the horror accident in Kwazulu Natal in 2022, and will face sentencing on Wednesday.

Sparking outrage across the nation, Siyaya was said to be on a cash bonus for the number of loads he could deliver on a day, and on his sixteenth consecutive shift.

Driver Siyaya sped down the N2 highway with 34 tonnes of coal, passing 15 vehicles

Shocking dashcam video shows the HGV hurtling down the wrong side of the road past traffic

The lorry crashes into the car as it attempts to get out of the way on the N2 road in South Africa

The reckless burst concludes with the driver smashing into a Toyota carrying 18 children

Two years after the horror accident in Pongola, the driver finally faces justice for murder, reckless and negligent driving, and for fleeing the scene of the accident.

Facing trial, a court heard how the driver had even taken his number plates off his Oaf HGV so that traffic cameras en route could not get evidence of him breaking the speed limits.

He was said to be motivated by making money and seen in the clip speeding away from the scene of the accident after ramming into the car on the N2 road to Gordons Bay.

At the top of the Itshelejuba Pass all HGV's are ordered by law to come to a complete halt and engage their lowest gear before setting off again down the other side of the busy road to the coast.

But video showed how Siyaya from Jozini village in KZN Province drove straight over the brow of the hill and when he was confronted with a line of slow traffic he simply swerved out across the double white lines.

Footage shows he built his speed up to over 60mph on the wrong side of the road, forcing oncoming traffic to swerve out of his way to avoid a collision.

He can be seen illegally overtaking 15 vehicles including eight heavy double coal truck-trailers similar to his in the 38-second clip.

The trucker's luck ran out 26 seconds into the video when he slammed into the Toyota station wagon driving towards him on the right side of the road.

Eighteen schoolchildren on their way home from class were horrifically killed along with the driver and passenger as their vehicle was driven under the front of the truck and pushed 220 metres back along the main road.

The lorry carrying heavily laden twin side-loading coal wagons manages to swerve back onto the right side of the road but with the station wagon still trapped beneath it in a shower of sparks.

The HGV is then seen careering off the road before the driver and a woman in the cab with him jumped out and ran off from the scene.

The runaway driver handed himself in and was arrested the next day by police. Siyaya has been in custody since September 2022.

He tried to claim that his brakes had failed and that he fled because he feared that he would be murdered by locals in instant justice.

But road traffic accident investigators found the brakes were working and GPS tracking and the dashcam proved he was in control of the lorry throughout its fatal 1.2km downward journey.

Judge Garth Davis, summing up the case, said the evidence showed he was driving at high speed on the wrong side of the road forcing other vehicles to swerve out the way for their lives.

Just one pupil survived the impact but died later in hospital.

Some 42 witnesses were expected to testify at the intense trial, where Siyaya previously pleaded not guilty.

Pongola High Court was told the school children who died were aged between 5 and 12, according to local media, and that one mother had lost three of her kids in the crash and several others two kids as they were ferried home.

Judge Davis said: 'During the descent the records show you had a steady hand and were in complete control of the vehicle and swung out into the opposite lane when in congestion.

'You crossed the double white lane and for 1.2km there was no visible attempt to move back to the correct lane and driving at up to 105km/h you then collided with the LDV.

'During the descent numerous vehicles are seen rapidly moving out the way or travelling into the emergency lane to avoid the truck and a head-on collision until the fatal crash.

'There was nothing mechanically wrong with the truck and you had made a clear volitional decision to cross the double white line to avoid congestion then drive at dangerous speeds.

'You never once attempted to go drive back into lane and after the accident fled the scene and did not render any assistance and did not report the accident to the police' he said.

Horrifying photos of the aftermath show the Toyota car utterly crushed by the lorry

Driver Sibusiso Siyaya was today convicted on 20 murder charges for the 2022 accident

The driver continues to push on down the wrong side of the road after the horror accident

Siyaya then cuts in behind another truck before veering off the road and coming to a halt

Finding Siyaya guilty of murder he added: 'The video shows a level of dangerous driving that may be unparalleled and the consequences of your actions were clearly immaterial to you.

'Your actions went beyond conscious negligence' he told the truck driver convicting him of 20 counts of murder and one of reckless driving and one of failing to report the accident.

The court was told that Siyaya was employed as a heavy-duty driver by BaoBao Projects and according to evidence given at the trial was paid generous bonuses for delivering more loads.

The court was adjourned for sentence till today as family and friends of the 18 pupils who died on their way home to Pongola from four local schools broke down in tears and comforted each other.

A mass funeral was held in the grieving town in September 2022 attended by Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Minister of Education Dr Reginah Mhaule.

Moment truck hits school van killing 18 children in South Africa (2024)
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