NSRI rescues 11 trapped on river island

2012-11-11 18:52

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Durban - The NSRI rescued 11 people trapped on an island in the flooded Umfolozi River between Mtubatuba and St Lucia on Sunday.

NSRI Richards Bay senior coxswain Dorian Robertson said the people - all of them locals - had crossed a bridge over the river in the morning to work. However, when they wanted to go back, the bridge had washed away and the land where they'd been working, had been cut off from the mainland.

"We suspect that rainfall at the catchment area, further up river, had caused the river to flood," said Robertson.

They'd alerted the local chief and he, in turn, had contacted the police to raise the alarm.

Robertson says the NSRI's 4x4 sea rescue vehicle, towing their rescue craft, and the police negotiated a rural track road to get to the scene. 

But once there, they were faced with a steep, barely accessible bank leading into the river.

"So the 20 other locals [who gone to the scene to see if they could help] cut a path for us, using their pangas.

"Then they helped to carry our sea rescue craft down to the river where it was launched."

Robertson said they'd dropped off one NSRI rescuer on the island and in 5 relays they'd taken all 11 people - and a dog - across the river to safety.

"The locals then helped us to recover our boat by carrying it up the steep embankment."

Read more on:    nsri  |  durban  |  search and rescue

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