South African Indian killed by falling trees

By Fakir Hassen, IANS

Johannesburg : Tragedy struck a South African Indian family here when Hassen Wadee, 49, was killed in a freak accident after being caught between two huge falling trees while on his way to mosque for Ramadan prayers Saturday night, while his two sons later passed the scene in a car, unaware of the incident.

Support TwoCircles

Wadee, a clerk at a cement company, was reportedly on his way with two unidentified boys to Masjid-e-Saliheen near his house for the nightly Taraweeh prayers when they were caught in a sudden storm.

Wadee is believed to have taken shelter under the towering trees while the boys chased after an umbrella that had flown out of their hands. Suddenly the trees, believed to be decades old and about 30 metres tall, were uprooted by the ferocity of the storm and crashed down on him, splitting his body in half.

“I have been handling accident cases, including multiple victim deaths in car crashes and even suicides at the local level crossing for 25 years now, but have never encountered anything as horrible as this,” said Abbas Sayed of the Saaberie Chishty Ambulance Society, which was called to the scene to assist.

Two of Wadee’s sons, Ahmed, 20, a spares assistant at Shiraz Delta in Lenasia, and Riaz, 16, a grade 10 student at Nirvana Secondary, passed the fallen trees as they headed for the mosque in a friend’s car, without realising that their father was crushed between them.

“At the mosque, they first saw people gathered around trees which had also fallen down there, damaging a wall at the mosque complex. Then they went in and became alarmed when they did not find their father there,” said their uncle Imraan.

“As they came out to search for him, they heard people talking about someone having died at the site they had passed and to their horror on arriving there, they found their father.”