Vehicle transporting 42 dead bodies breaks down on JHB freeway


16 adult and 26 still born bodies in a broken down trailer on the M1 South between the Smith and Carr Street onramp.

JOHANNESBURG – A vehicle with a trailer transporting 42 dead bodies broke down on a busy Johannesburg freeway bringing traffic to a standstill on Wednesday morning.

City of Johannesburg MMC for Public Safety, Michael Sun, said the vehicle had been transporting the bodies from a Johannesburg hospital when the vehicle broke down on the M1 south.

“Just before noon, our Johannesburg Metro Police Department received a call about a broken down trailer on the M1, near the Smith Road,” said Sun.

“The broken down trailer was causing quite a bit of traffic congestion.”

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Sun said when JMPD officers arrived on the scene they were startled to see that inside the broken trailer that there were 16 adults and 26 still born babies.

The Gauteng Department of Health said a private undertaker trailer was carrying the bodies from Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital to Olifantsvlei cemetery for pauper’s burials when it lost one of its wheels. 

The department said it regrets the incident and will launch an investigation to establish why the bodies were transported in an open trailer.

Sun said that the section of the freeway where the incident took pace has been cordoned off. Motorists have been urged to drive carefully when they reach that section of the road.