Several people missing after flash flood hits Johannesburg

2016-11-09 23:19

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Durban – Several people are still missing following Wednesday's flash flood, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department said.

About seven people were unaccounted for after their vehicles were washed away during flooding that brought traffic to a standstill, JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said.

By 22:00 the M1 was still flooded at the Athol Road on- and off-ramps in Melrose.

Minnaar said the N3 Buccleuch interchange was flooded in both directions and the N3 was flooded in both directions at Linksfield Road.

"Approximately six vehicles drove over the embankment at around 20:00. Motorists are encouraged not to drive through roads which are flooded," Minnaar warned.

Lieutenant Kobedi Mokheseng, spokesperson for the Ekurhuleni metro police, told Netwerk24 that the N3, N12 and R21 in and around the city were flooded by about 17:00.

"We got Sanral in to come unblock the storm water drains on the national roads, but it was near impossible due to the fast-flowing water and the darkness," Mokheseng said.

"Emergengy services have their hands full."

He warned that the N3 and N12 were crime hotspots and the SAPS were on the scene to protect stranded motorists.

He urged stranded motorists to stay calm.

"It is going to be long night," he said.

Five hour delay

Private paramedic services EMER-G-MED earlier said that one person had been confirmed dead, the number had risen to two at around 21:08, after another victim who had drowned, had been recovered.

Motorists travelling to the OR Tambo International Airport and passengers who were travelling were also affected.

According to Traveller24 Airports Company South Africa confirmed that there were knock-on flight delays due to the storm and that access roads to the airport have been flooded and travellers should avoid the highways.

ACSA’s spokesperson Diedre Davids was not immediately available to comment.

A prominent business man, who asked not to be named, who was stuck at OR Tambo on Wednesday night told News24 that he had been waiting at the airport since 16:00.

His flight, which was scheduled to depart at around 19:30, departed at around 21:45.

“I am on a flight that was supposed to leave at 19:30. We are inside but we have not taken off. Other flights are moving around the airport. The only affected area was Linksfield on the N3 all the way to the road leading to Eastgate.”

Zoo closed

Earlier News24 reported that a boundary wall at the Johannesburg Zoo had collapsed, spokesperson Jenny Moodley has confirmed that no one was hurt, including the animals.

“Thankfully there are no injuries, all our staff and the animals are accounted for. The animals are a bit stressed but they are okay.”

Moodley said the Zoo would remain closed on Thursday to ensure that the safety of the animals and the public was not compromised.

She said the day would also be used to assess the damage caused by the flooding.

Moodley urged the public to report any damage around the Zoo to the city’s infrastructure department on 011 375 5555.

Gauteng Provincial Government spokesperson Busaphi Nxumalo ,advised motorists to avoid the R24, N3 and N12 around the Gillolys interchange.

100 vehicles stuck

Nxumalo said up to 100 vehicles were stuck as the roads are submerged and emergency workers were currently on scene to assist those who were still trapped.

Residents in low lying areas were urged to be alert and avoid crossing flooded bridges and rivers.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Cape, hail damaged several homes and infrastructure in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

Municipal spokesperson Lubabalo Majenge,  said heavy rains accompanied by strong winds and hailstorm caused major damage to homes and infrastructure in Mount Ayliff in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Eastern Cape.

Infrastructure including schools, electricity, telephone lines and roads were damaged, said Majenge.

Disaster and emergency teams were dispatched to affected communities to assist and assess the damages.   

Read more on:    jmpd  |  wayne minnaar  |  johannesburg  |  flooding

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