Durbanite Louis van Coller was sure he was going to die as a Cessna 172 aeroplane hurtled towards him during his drive home yesterday afternoon.
The plane, with two men on board, was trying to make an emergency landing on the N2 at Winklespruit, south of Durban, after its engine failed.
Instead, the left wing clipped powerlines and was flipped across the freeway.
The Cessna “somehow missed my car by a few metres” and ploughed into bushes 20m from the road, he said.
Van Coller, aformer policeman, ran to help the two men. But it was too late.
“As I came around the corner I saw a person with his left hand in the air. That second the plane exploded and burst into flames. I couldn’t get close.
“There was nothing anyone could do,” he said.
The two men, who have not been identified, were from the Virginia Airport’s Durban Aviation Centre.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha was on the scene in five minutes. “We tried to put the fire out, but there was no way. That plane was burnt solidly,” Botha said.