Video: Huge effort to save two from boiling river

Henry

Several emergency services in KwaZulu-Natal received emergency calls late on Tuesday afternoon after a vehicle with two occupants was swept away by the Umgeni River. The driver of the vehicle apparently tried to cross a low-lying bridge.

RNews earlier reported that devastating storms in KwaZulu-Natal led to flash floods last week. Flashes of water swept cars off roads and trapped people in homes. At least 22 people have died in flash floods in Ladysmith.

According to Samantha Meyrick, spokesperson for the emergency service IPSS Medical Rescue, the first emergency calls came in at around 16:30.

“The metro police’s search and rescue service, as well as the police’s dog unit, were first on the scene.

“Due to the complexity of the rescue effort, additional resources – IPSS’s search and rescue service, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and START rescue service – were also called to the scene,” says Meyrick.

“When the IPSS search and rescue service arrived on the scene, it was determined that a vehicle with two occupants had washed down the river approximately 500 m from where they tried to cross the low-lying bridge.”

She says a protracted rescue effort – which lasted a total of three hours due to the complexity of the rope system that had to be used – was launched.

“The rescue effort was further complicated by fading light and the fast-flowing river.

“However, the two occupants, a couple presumably in their 40s, were later successfully rescued from the water,” says Meyrick.

The couple were examined and treated by paramedics from EMRS and Netcare911.

According to Meyrick, there are unconfirmed reports of a bystander who was also swept away while trying to save the occupants.

She thanked all the role players who helped to successfully rescue the couple from the water.