Dramatic chase of hijackers with hostages
16 April 2016, 14:58
Johannesburg - When Steve van Eeden pursued a speeding vehicle which had caused an accident in Florida, west of Johannesburg, little did he know that he was joining a chase for a group of hijackers who had taken a mom and her three children hostage.
Van Eeden said the car had narrowly missed hitting him on Friday afternoon as it was pursued by an armed response van. The van, however, hit the vehicle in front of him and Van Eeden decided to join the chase.
"They [the hijackers] were driving at about 140km/h in a 60km/h zone," Van Eeden said.
Travelling with his 12-year-old daughter in the vehicle, Van Eeden followed behind the armed response vehicle in pursuit of the suspects.
At the time, he had not noticed the mother and children in the vehicle, but had only seen the three male occupants who were the hijackers.
"The hijackers were actually sitting on top of the woman and her children," said Van Eeden.
As the chase continued, the hijackers turned a corner and lost control of the vehicle, hitting an island before smashing into a bakkie pulling a trailer, which had been coming from the opposite direction.
'The baby just had a slight bump to the head'
The vehicle was written off, with its airbags popped out, the engine exposed and the windows shattered.
That is when Van Eeden first caught sight of the mother and her three children - aged 10, 6 and 9 months old.
"They were conscious and [there was] a lot of crying," said Van Eeden.
The mother was reported to be in a critical condition after breaking her pelvis. Her six-year-old boy was also in a critical condition after he sustained injuries to his head. The 10-year-old girl escaped with only a dislocated arm.
Miraculously, the baby was not injured.
"The baby just had a slight bump to the head," said Van Eeden, adidng that the child was found still strapped into the baby car seat.
The bakkie and trailer, which had been smashed into by the hijackers, had been carrying two men and two children.
One child's arm was injured during the crash, but both were taken to hospital for observation.
The front part of their vehicle was badly damaged and parts of the trailer were ripped apart.
'He was just laughing at the people'
Meanwhile, one of the hijackers had jumped out of the vehicle and ran away.
The other two, who were injured, were unable to escape.
"We later on caught the third hijacker. I identified him as the one that had ran away, by his clothes," said Van Eeden.
A gun was found in the hijacked vehicle.
"The gun was in two pieces... Because of the impact, it had split into two," Van Eeden said.
He described the entire incident as shocking.
His daughter was also shaken up by the incident.
"She is fine. She was quite shocked at the time," said Van Eeden.
He was also disturbed by the incident.
"I don't know why they had to take them with," he said.
Some people who had rushed to the scene had questioned one of the hijackers about this.
"He was just laughing at the people who were asking him," said Van Eeden.
All three hijackers were taken to the Leratong Hospital under police guard.