Low-level bridge: three swim to safety, one man still missing

2013-01-11 00:00

A CAR carrying four friends was washed off the low-level bridge in Woodhouse Road last night.

Three of the men managed to escape the raging waters, but by 10 pm last night one of the occupants was still not accounted for.

One of the survivors told The Witness that he had to swim for his life. “I’ve never swum before. But I did tonight,” Ziyanda Mthembu (22) said.

The shivering Mthembu said they were driving from Scottsville to Imbali. The driver didn’t realise that the bridge was flooded. Mthembu said he was the last person out of the car. “I could hear my friends screaming for me.”

Mthembu had to stand on top of the car and hold on to the branches of overhanging trees.

“I’m still shaken. … We almost died,” he said, wrapped in a foil blanket to keep warm.

The other two men were reluctant to speak, but there was a bit of laughter between the three over the fact that one managed to save his BlackBerry.

“I held it with my mouth,” he told his friends.

Search and rescue unit leader Lieutenant Jack Haskins said police would have to wait for the water levels to subside before resuming the search.

Boom gates that block the road when there is flooding were locked open and the keys were nowhere to be found.

The emergency services had to cut the locks in order to close the road.

In October last year, Scottsville businessman Asogan Govender was drowned after his SUV was swept away while crossing the bridge following a severe thunderstorm. His body was found seven kilometres downstream of the bridge, several days later.

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