09/06/2008 23:29 - (SA)
Pietermaritzburg - Hijackers tried to burn a Bergville farm employee alive on Friday night by setting his car alight with him locked in the boot.
But, Tony Goble, 58, managed to fight his way out of the boot of his burning car despite having received a blow to the head with the butt of a handgun, that broke four teeth.
When The Witness called his home on Monday afternoon, Goble was away visiting a sick friend. His sister-in-law, Beth Fyvie, said that he looked and acted normally.
"But, I'm afraid the incident has yet to strike him," said Fyvie.
Assaulted by hijackers
Bergville police confirmed that a case of vehicle hijacking had been opened.
Later, Goble, who praised the Lord for saving him, told The Witness his amazing story. He said he was attacked about 22:00 when he arrived home at Hartebees Fountain Farm, where he works, after visiting friends.
As he reached the door of his house he was assaulted by a group of people. He guessed there were six of them.
"They forced me into the boot of my car. They drove off, also taking along a Toyota Hilux bakkie belonging to my employer," said Goble.
After driving for about 40km towards Harrismith his vehicle stopped, presumably having run out of petrol. He said it was cold, and when he smelt fire he assumed the hijackers had started the fire to warm themselves.
"I managed to pull up the lever of the boot, but was scared to jump out.
"I heard the bakkie driving off, but I thought some of them were going to the garage to buy petrol to refill my car.
"I thought some of them had been left behind," said Goble, who is the father of two grown children.
Goble, who had also been robbed of his cellphone, said a few minutes later he saw a minibus stopping next to his vehicle. He immediately jumped out of the boot into the taxi.
Called family and police
That was when he saw his car was on fire and realised that he had nearly been burnt alive.
The minibus taxi was taking passengers to Harrismith. After hearing his story, the taxi driver turned back and drove Goble to Little Switzerland Hotel where he called his relatives and police.
Captain Charmaine Struwig said police were looking for the blue Toyota Hilux bakkie (ND 457 196).
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the vehicle or suspects can contact their nearest police station or Bergville police on 036 448 1696.