‘Beware of rivers and low bridges’

2010-01-27 00:00

CHILDREN and motorists were warned about the danger of crossing rivers and low-level bridges as heavy rains fell in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands yesterday.

Police search-and-rescue unit Inspector Jack Haskins issued the warning yesterday.

“Children must avoid crossing lowlevel bridges like the one near Sobantu. People in cars must not misjudge rivers and attempt to cross because they might be washed away,” he said.

Haskins said that recently two people drowned in the midlands, and he fears the number will grow if people are not careful. One of the incidents happened at Cedara Agricultural College where a 19-year-old Dambuza man died after falling into a murky swimming pool on Sunday afternoon.

Haskins said that in the same period last year about 10 people drowned in the province’s rivers. This included a five-year-old child who was washed away by the swollen Msunduzi River while he was trying to cross at the Sobantu low-level bridge.

The South African Weather Service predicted chances of rain may decrease to 30% today and tomorrow. But Haskins is concerned that rivers may still swell as heavy rains continue up in the Drakensberg Mountains.

“I’m also always on the alert during this time of the year. Although I don’t know much about predicting the weather, when I wake up and see that it is raining I know that I have work to do,” said Haskins.

ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said his team is regularly in consultation with the SAPS search-and-rescue unit.

“We work closely with them and if they get called we always go with them,” said Banks.

Swim SA’s CEO Shaun Adriaanse said people must stay away from fastflowing rivers even if they know how to swim.

“They must rather wait until the rivers start subsiding.

Those who have swimming pools must cover them with nets in case they are filled up with rain water,” said Adriaanse.

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