Farmer missing after bakkie swept off bridge

2012-08-08 22:47
Police diver (Volksblad)

Police diver (Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - A Kareedouw farmer is missing after his car was swept off a low bridge by floodwaters, Eastern Cape police said on Wednesday.

Frits Myburgh and his wife, Poppie, both in their 40s, were crossing the Kouga bridge in Kareedouw at 20:00 on Tuesday night when their Mitsubishi Colt bakkie was swept into the water, Lieutenant Colonel Priscilla Naidu said in a statement.

The wife was able to climb out the window and hold onto a rock about 100m downstream.

"That was the last time she saw her husband or the bakkie," Naidu said.

The wife was found at 13:00 on Wednesday by passers-by who alerted the police.

Police then began a search for Frits Myburgh using police divers, K9 units and rescue teams.

The search was called off on Wednesday afternoon due to poor weather conditions.

Poppie Myburgh was taken to hospital for treatment. She was discharged into the care of her daughter and friends in Kareedouw.

Search ongoing

Meanwhile, the female paramedic who plunged off a bridge and into a Montagu river in an ambulance has still not been found, Western Cape emergency services said.

"Rescuers searched inside the vehicle and they did not find her," spokesperson Keri Davids said.

The ambulance she was driving veered off the Cogmanskloof bridge into a river in Montagu on Tuesday morning.

Davids said 15 divers, both from emergency services and police, were looking for her.

"At 08:00 this morning, search teams located the ambulance about 200m from the bridge. The ambulance was submerged."

The woman had been driving from Montagu to Ashton at 05:30 on Tuesday when the accident happened.

She alerted the communications centre in Worcester and emergency and rescue workers were sent to the scene.

The area was also searched from the air.

Earlier on Wednesday, One hundred and fifty people were rescued from a severe snow storm in the Kokstad area.

"A call came in this morning at around 07:00 that people were stuck in the severe snow on the R617 at the Kings Cross mountain pass since yesterday [Tuesday]," Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha said.

Search and rescue personnel as well a paramedic flew out to the scene in a Oryx Helicopter where 150 people were found trapped in two buses and seven trucks.

"Rescuers managed to airlift thirty children and a 120 adults to Kokstad," he said.

Child killed

So far two people have died since the cold front hit the country.

A 3-year-old girl was killed on Tuesday when the walls of her home crumbled after continuous rain in Bityi, near Mthatha, Eastern Cape police said.

"The girl was with her mother when the walls of the house collapsed. Fortunately, the mother didn't die and escaped," said Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.

He could not confirm any other fatalities or injuries as a result of the weather conditions.

"At this stage, we are still checking our areas and so far it's quiet, but it's still raining."

In Westville, Durban, a homeless man believed to be in his fifties died of hypothermia on Wednesday, according to paramedics

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said paramedics were notified of a man lying inside a box on a roadside near to the New Germany Nature Reserve who was unresponsive.

"When paramedics arrived they assessed the man and found he had already passed away."

It is unclear how long the man had been lying there but it's believed that died due to the severe cold temperatures, Banks said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    durban  |  port elizabeth  |  east london  |  search and rescue  |  weather  |  accidents
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