When 15-year-old Tom Kruger saw several men clambering about on the back of a moving truck, trying to loot its load, he decided to film the incident. Not in the hopes that it would go viral, but because he wanted the driver to have some proof that he tried his best to thwart them.
The Kruger family was driving from Port Elizabeth to East London on Friday August 25 when they spotted a truck with its hazards on, swerving wildly across the road.
“We were probably about 60km outside of East London,” Libby Kruger, who was driving the vehicle, told News24. Her son Tom was in the passenger seat.
At first they were puzzled as to why the truck was driving in such a fashion, but then they spotted the men on the back.
“We saw four males on the back of the truck. One of them jumped off fairly quickly, but the other three remained,” said Libby. She says they were on a steep uphill and couldn’t have been driving more than 25km/h at that point in time.
The men used a knife to cut through the tarp and gain access to what looked like bags of samp or corn.
“They were throwing these bags from the back of the truck onto the highway,” Libby said.
The two cars behind the truck deliberately drove over the bags to keep the looters from collecting them.
Douw Steyn, operational manager at Kestell Logistics, confirmed that the truck in question belongs to his company.
“It’s not a route we drive often,” Steyn said. The truck was transporting sugar. Steyn confirmed that a total of 28 bags were missing from the load.
He was on the phone with his driver while the looting took place.
“I know it was reckless, but I asked the driver to snake and try and throw them off. There is always the possibility of a hijacking, so the outcome could have been far worse.”
“My driver deserves an A+,” said Steyn.
Libby says the men were not working alone.
“There were men positioned alongside the route, waiting to collect the stock from the highway. This was no random act, they were very organised.”
The looters then changed their game plan and began loading the bags of sugar into a large bag. They eventually also dropped this load onto the highway. One of the vehicles driving in front of the Krugers lost part of its bumper in an attempt drive over it with their car.
The looters then started pelting the samaritans’ cars with stones. That’s when Libby drove off.
“Tom felt so sorry for the truck driver, and was worried that he’d be penalised. I mean how does he prove he did everything in his power to protect the load?”
He uploaded the video to social media in the hope that it would help the driver. Steyn, who saw the video on Sunday morning after a friend had shared it, was extremely grateful to all of the parties involved.
“It’s nice to know there are still people out there who try to help and are willing to help. Thanks to them.”
AA spokesperson Layton Beard told News24 about the difficulties of this kind of situation.
“Truck drivers are generally quite at risk. There is great potential for something like this to happen to them.”
He however emphasised that swerving across the road is very dangerous.
“It could have caused a major problem.”
“The driver’s life is more important than any cargo. We would suggest that he rather use his hands-free kit to phone his employer or the police, and drive to the nearest police station.”
“Companies also need to ensure that cargo, transported in the back of a truck, is as secure as possible,” he added. – News 24