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BMW Rear Ended by Mini Bus
Clanwilliam, South Africa
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This accident happened in South Africa on 08 January 2004 on the N7 national road 24 km (15miles) outside Clanwilliam on the way to Cape Town. I was driving my 1984 BMW 320i 2door automatic and was rear ended by a mini- bus taxi (shuttle van). My wife and I with two of our children age 3 and 5 ( the oldest one 9 was with her grandparents, fortunately) were returning from a Christmas holiday.
The legal speed limit on this road is 100km/h (60mph). The truck in the back ground broke down in the road and a traffic officer stopped me in order for another truck to over take the broken down one. I noticed the mini- bus coming from behind at a very high speed. I reduced my speed from 100km/h to about 30km/h and started pulling over on the gravel next to the road to make space for the mini- bus (It can be seen in the back ground approx 75meters behind me) when it hit me. The brakes of the vehicle was faulty and had to be "pumped" to work properly. There is a skid mark from it's left front tyre from the point of impact, about 25meter before the point where my vehicle came to a stop, up to the point where it finally came to a stop, another 75meter behind the point where my vehicle came to a stop. (a total length of 100m).
My BMW was flung of the road into the ditch where it went tail over nose and actually hit the top of the embankment (about 3m high) \ with its boot and roof while up side down. An eye-witness told me that at this time the car's nose was actually level with the boot and that it was higher in the air than the height of the mini- bus. The car then rolled back into the road. My wife and I had whiplash, she had a broken nose, my 5 year old son broke his right leg close to the hip from being crushed between the front and the rear seat and had to spend 6 weeks in hospital and underwent 2 operations, October this year the pins have to be removed again under surgery. My 3year old daughter only suffered minor scratches to her forehead.
All of us had our seat belts on. The people in the taxi only had minor injuries. At this stage of the trip the taxi already travelled 600km and actually stopped at a service station in Clanwilliam to have a fan-belt replaced. (Apparently the faulty brakes did not bother the driver). The traffic officer also had to run for his life since the taxi stopped about 20m behind the point where he was standing. Speeding with a fully laden vehicle with faulty brakes through a mountain pass? Only in SA.
Regards Johan S.
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