The last thing container truck driver Daniel Omar did before his truck landed on top of a car, crushing a father and his stepson, was to help get desperately needed food aid to the Cape Town harbour for shipping to children who needed it.
This is according to Container Domestic Services co-owner Jet Peters, who was still trying to make sense of the tragic accident which occurred last Wednesday morning.
“We know our equipment was 100%,” said Peters, as he and his staff try to come to terms with the death of their colleague who died in hospital after the accident. “We deal with blue chip clients and everything must be perfect.”
Last Wednesday, the truck apparently overturned on the N1 near the Koeberg interchange, and the blue shipping container landed on the vehicle that Alan Ryke and his step son Nicolaas Brits were travelling in, crushing it.
Both died in the accident and Omar survived and was taken to hospital. However, he died later, according to provincial traffic spokesperson Kenny Africa, at the time.
Peters said that the mood at the small container transport company was very low. Staff went to help Omar’s family wash his body in accordance with Islamic rites, and his funeral, held soon after the post-mortem was conducted, was very sad.
Searching for answers
But now Peters wants to know what happened on the fateful morning of September 20 and is frustrated that the investigation is taking so long.
According to Peters he had the container weighed himself, at his own expense, after the accident and wants to know why the authorities have not taken it to the testing grounds yet to get to the bottom of the accident.
He also wants the authorities to inspect the CCTV footage of the accident from the freeway cameras so that they can get closure.
Peters said one of the last things Omar did was to help get food aid to desperate children in Afghanistan.
He had been part of a convoy of 14 trucks taking concentrated food sachets to the Cape Town harbour for delivery by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to the war-torn country. The cargo was a life-saving concentrate for babies and small children there who are too weak to eat, he explained.
After the accident, the sachets were loaded onto another vehicle and made it to the harbour in time for the ship taking it to be distributed by Unicef.
Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said that investigators were still in the process of obtaining the CCTV footage and vehicle testing has already been arranged.
In the meantime, widow Myrtle Ryke had to overcome the grief of losing her husband of one year, Alan, and her son, Nicolaas, in the shocking accident, to ask for help to pay their funeral costs.
She said that people – some of them strangers, some family and friends – had been kind enough to help raise enough money for a fitting send-off for the two from the Bikers Church in Brackenfell, north of Cape Town, on Saturday.
“He helped everybody he could have helped. He would give you the clothes off his back,” she said of her late husband.
A grieving wife, mother
It was Myrtle’s second marriage and her electrician husband’s first.
She described her son as “my little angel”, who worked as a barman and occasionally did some modelling.
She said she knew immediately that it was her two loved ones who were killed in the crash when a police officer called her from Brits’ cellphone.
Earlier she had been unable to reach them on WhatsApp, but put it down to a poor signal.
Her other son, Stefanus, had sent her a message asking “Is Uncle Alan alright?” with a picture of the vehicle crushed under the weight of the container.
“I recognised the car from the bumper,” continued Myrtle, explaining that the bumper damage had been on the car for a while.
“I knew straight away. I said: ‘Boeta, your brother’s in the car as well’.
“Then after that I phoned on Alan’s phone. I phoned on Nick’s phone, and the policeman answered…
“We all went to Maitland police station, but I already knew it was them,” said the grieving woman.[Source: News24]