Arrests made after paramedics attacked

2012-04-25 21:48
Cape Town - Police have made arrests after two paramedics attending to a scene in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, were attacked and robbed, the provincial emergency medical service said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Keri Davids said the team was treating a drug overdose patient in the township at 02:00 on Tuesday, when about five men entered the ambulance and pepper-sprayed them.

"The male paramedic tried to go get help and tripped over a rock. The men started kicking him and then took a cellphone off him, also frisking [him] for a wallet," she said.

They then took the ambulance key and searched through bags in the front of the vehicle. While this took place, the female paramedic remained in back of the ambulance with the patient.

It was not clear how the men got away, but paramedics managed to flag down another ambulance in the area for help. Davids said it seemed the attackers came from a shebeen opposite the house where the ambulance had parked.

"We are still trying to get exact details of how many men were involved and what was taken, but the crew are still too traumatised to talk and are being counselled."

She said police had made arrests earlier on Wednesday, but Captain Frederick van Wyk was not immediately available to confirm this.

"We don't have statistics or a document to record these attacks, but they happen once or twice a month, if the crew reports it," Davids said.

Paramedics were often the victims of physical or verbal abuse, she said. A case of robbery and assault was opened.
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