Traffic cop saves blacked-out motorist on railway tracks

2015-11-30 19:29


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Cape Town – It would be a nightmare for any motorist to lie unconscious in their vehicle on a railway line – with oncoming trains just moments away.

Yet, when that nightmare became a reality for a Cape Town motorist on Monday morning, a quick-thinking traffic officer and members of the public jumped in and saved the day.

It was a close call, but they moved the motorist and car to safety without incident.

"I was calm at the time. It’s part of my duty and I only realised afterwards it could have been a catastrophe," senior traffic officer Oscar Frantz, 39, told News24.

Frantz, attached to the city’s ghost squad, left his home for a 06:00 shift and travelled on a road along the railway line in Maitland.

"I came across a vehicle that straddled both train lines. The motorist was still inside."

The 65-year old man in the white Honda Jazz had apparently been on his way to work from Milnerton.

He apparently travelled down Royal Road, lost consciousness, crashed through a fence underneath a foot bridge and landed on the railway.

"It must have happened a few seconds before we arrived. As we stopped, the dust was still settling," he recalled the moment.

"I jumped out and two gentlemen on their way to work stopped to help me."

The three carried the dazed, but otherwise unharmed motorist, to safety. Frantz said the driver was "shocked and relieved".

"Only later did he realise he had been on the tracks. He didn't have any words to say other than 'thank you', but his emotions and face said it all."

'Just part of a day's work'

The group then tried pushing the vehicle off the tracks.

A tow truck driver came to their aid and hooked up the vehicle from behind.

"As we got off the first track, a train came past. As we got the car off the second track, the train that leaves the city also came."

Frantz said the men who helped him "quietly disappeared" before he could thank them.

Had no-one intervened, a train would have hit the car, forcing it into the foot bridge, city spokesperson Janine Willemans said.

This could "potentially have put the train passengers' safety in the balance and had a major impact on the broader rail network".

Far from wanting to be in the spotlight, Frantz said it was "just part of a day’s work".

"I have been a traffic officer for 16 years and I would say this experience ranks tops. I haven’t done something like this before."

Read more on:    cape town  |  good news

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