Gruesome start to festive season on Namibia’s roads

The death toll on Namibia’s roads has marked the start of the festive season as the deadliest in the country’s history. Twenty people were killed on the country’s roads over the weekend, with five of the deaths in two separate accidents in the Erongo Region. Adding to this tragedy is the fact that a person also drowned in the sea at Vierkantklip on Saturday [see report in today’s edition].

“Drivers must consider other road users. Sadly, it is mostly innocent people that are dying, whilst the drivers survive. We call on all vehicle drivers to not drink and drive and we will once again enforce a zero-tolerance approach to people driving whilst under the influence of alcohol”, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, police regional crime investigations coordinator for Erongo, told namib times over the weekend in response to the deadly accidents.
The festive season is a time when people look forward to relaxation and quality time spent with family and friends. For hundreds of people this has turned out to be a time of sorrow and pain, as the twenty people are mourned by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends and colleagues.
On Saturday morning, on the C34 salt road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay behind the dunes, close to the Langer Heinrich turn-off a white BMW (N45043W) overtook a tanker truck at a very high speed. The driver lost control over the vehicle. The sedan left the road and overturned. The momentum ejected all five occupants from the car, killing three people instantly. They were identified as three male occupants, Monzil McNab (24), Jaco Goliath (25) and Solomon Alfonzo Winfred (27).
The remaining two occupants who survived the accident were rushed to the Swakopmund State Hospital in a critical condition. Izolda Belies, a 24-year old Namibian female, passed away shortly after being admitted to hospital. The only survivor is Kisting Clinton Wotan (35). His condition was yesterday described as stable.
“He is the owner of the car and it is believed he was driving when the accident happened”, Iikuyu continued.
To the reporter of the namib times on the scene on Saturday morning there was stark irony in a dirty and torn sticker that was once displayed [as a statement of misplaced pride] on the BMW before the accident reduced it two a mangled wreckage of death: “I am not driving fast. I am flying low.”
Another fatality was reported in the Erongo region when a white Isuzu pick-up was involved in an accident on the B2 between Swakopmund and Arandis on Sunday at about 17:00.
According to Deputy Commissioner Iikuyu, the driver, Kavepuka Ngaringombe (30), lost control over the vehicle as he was travelling towards Swakopmund. The vehicle left the road and overturned. Both occupants were rushed to the Swakopmund state hospital. Ngaringombe was declared dead upon arrival. The other passenger, Dina Inyomoka Unanisa (22), is in a critical but stable condition.
Another accident claimed the lives of three Grade 8 learners near Outjo over the weekend. Reports indicate a pick-up in which the learners traveled overturned on the Outjo-Otavi gravel road. One person, also a school boy survived the accident.
On Sunday tragedy struct near Okahandja when about twenty kilometers from the town on the B2 [direction Karibib] a vehicle overtook numerous cars recklessly and slammed into an oncoming vehicle. Both cars burst into flames. Nine people were killed. One person was admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
In the coastal region a gruesome accident was recorded
Deputy Commissioner Iikuyu made use of the opportunity to again plead with drivers taking it to the country and more particularly Erongo’s roads to have road safety in mind as a number one concern. Speeding, dangerous overtaking, overloading and driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance cause deaths on our roads year after year and the carnage seems to be a nightmare from which we cannot seem to escape.
Iikuyu warned people that not only will the police and other authorities be vigilant at permanent road block points, but law enforcement will also concentrate on mobile road blocks to enforce traffic safety. He reminded drivers to be vigilant in the name of road safety and added wearing safety belts, adhering to road traffic signs, not to speak on a cellphone whilst driving will not only protect the driver and his passengers’ lives but it will also save the lives of all road users.
Caption: Four people died on Saturday morning during an accident on the C34 salt road between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Photo by Erwin Leuschner

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