BYSTANDERS who witnessed a 10-wheeler truck crush a taxi in which five people were travelling helped save their lives by lifting it off them.
This as the father of two children in the taxi kept pleading with people to save them from where they were trapped in the back seat.
Traffic along Ratu Mara Rd in Suva was diverted following the pile-up which involved three taxis and the truck at the junction of Shalimar St a little after midday.
Josateki Senikau, 29, was working in the area with his Fulton Hogan Highways Joint Venture workmates when the accident occurred.
"The white taxi had four passengers — two adults, their two children and the driver. It was travelling from Suva and waiting to turn into Shalimar St," he said.
"A truck was speeding behind it. The driver of the truck looked dazed, like he was tired.
"The truck went on top of the white taxi and crushed it."
Mr Senikau said he and other bystanders were at first shocked.
"The truck driver and his two passengers jumped out.
"The family and the driver in the white taxi were trapped and also in shock."
He said after he recovered from shock, he and other bystanders began to try and push the truck from on top the white taxi.
"The father of the family, who was sitting in the front seat, was asking us to think about his two children first — he just kept repeating that."
Mr Senikau said they successfully toppled the truck from on top the taxi and immediately tried to rescue the two children.
"I was scared but all I could hear was the father's plea and the children crying.
"We freed the older of the two children first, then the younger one.
"They were bleeding and their injuries looked critical."
A taxi nearby rushed the two children to the CWM Hospital.
"After that we couldn't do anything because the driver and the parents in the taxi were in awkward positions because of how the truck crushed the vehicle."
Firefighters and police arrived at the scene and managed to free the remaining three people within two hours.
The other two taxis, which were travelling from the opposite direction, were hit by the truck before it ploughed over the taxi.
The other two taxis, which were travelling from the opposite direction, were involved in a separate accident, missing the white taxi and the truck.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro confirmed the driver of the truck will be questioned, adding they were still trying to establish the cause of the accident.