A DESPATCH Grade 7 pupil is lucky to be alive after being hit by a municipal rubbish collection truck yesterday afternoon.
Ntombikhaya Nyeta, 15, was taken to Provincial Hospital in Uitenhage after she sustained a cut on her forehead, and complained of excruciating pain in the lower part of her body, her cousin Nosipho Zenani said yesterday.
The truck also smashed into a fence of a Fort Calata Street house before coming to a halt next to an electrical pole.
The emergency services were at the scene shortly after the accident occurred just before 5pm. The mangled truck had to be towed away.
Zenani said Nyeta was fortunate to be alive.
"She was walking down the road with her friends when suddenly she heard this noise.
"She was pushed aside by the speeding truck. She is still in hospital vomiting and has complained of pain.
"The doctor is keeping her overnight for observation until tomorrow [today] before she can be discharged," Zenani said.
Nyeta's friend, Aviwe Tsotso, 14, said she and three other girls were walking down Fort Calata Street when they saw the speeding truck approaching.
"The three of us were lucky because we managed to run into a yard. At that stage I did not see where Nyeta was and we started crying from fear and shock. It's the first time I've witnessed something like this," Tsotso said.
Asiphile Basi, 12, who saw the speeding truck approaching, said she ran to safety when onlookers told her to get out of the way.
A traumatised Basi said Nyeta was hit by the side of the truck.
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Gerda Swart said: "It is alleged the brakes failed. The police are investigating a reckless and negligent [driving] charge."
The driver was also taken to hospital.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the accident was unfortunate irrespective of whether it was a municipal or private vehicle involved.
"We will have to find out exactly what happened," he said.