Bus stuck in snow in KwaZulu-Natal

2012-08-08 12:12
Snow in Johannesburg. (Sapa)

Snow in Johannesburg. (Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Paramedics were called out to rescue passengers trapped in a bus stuck in the snow near Kokstad on Wednesday, said Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha.

"There is a bus that is stuck there and we need to get those people out," he said.

Paramedics were getting into a helicopter around 10:00 and would fly to Kokstad to make the rescue.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said paramedics had been working with search and rescue teams to distribute blankets, soup and water - sponsored by Gift of the Givers - to motorists stuck in the snow along the N3.

"Paramedics said as far as they could see there are cars stuck along the N3," Banks said.

Military on stand-by

He was unsure of the number of people stuck, and whether there had been any fatalities. One of the ER24 response cars got stuck in Nottingham Road, just off the N3, while on its way to a call-out.

The military had been placed on stand-by in KwaZulu-Natal because of the snowfall in the area, the defence department said.

"We are on stand-by in the Harrismith area, around Ladysmith and Van Reenen's pass in particular," spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said.

He said the military was also ready to help in the Eastern Cape, around the Maluti area, near Kokstad.

The N3 Toll Concession said parts of the highway between Johannesburg and Durban were still closed on Wednesday morning because of the snow.

"We have had to close the N3 toll route from the Wilge toll plaza to the Cedara interchange near Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal," spokesperson Andy Visser said.

"This is due to heavy snowfall and treacherous weather conditions. Vehicles have already been snowed-in overnight close to Mooi River."

‘Don’t drive in snowy weather’

They would first ensure conditions were safe before sending emergency vehicles to help stuck motorists.

"We understand that it is a long weekend, but we urge motorists to please not travel until the weather conditions improve, in the interests of their safety," Visser said.

ER24 spokesperson Vanessa Jackson said cars and people were trapped near the Mooi River toll plaza on Tuesday night.

"Trucks, light motor vehicles, taxis, emergency vehicles and rescuers were all stuck in the snow," Jackson said.

More rain expected in Joburg

They had either slid into each other or off the road into ditches, or just could not travel any further due to the chaos in front of them.

Jackson urged motorists to stay calm until emergency services arrived.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar urged drivers to be extra vigilant as more rain was expected.

"Roads are slippery when wet. Motorists should reduce travelling speed, keep their headlights on and maintain a safe travelling distance when it rains."

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