Man clings five hours to tree in raging flood

2012-01-20 00:00

A 24-YEAR-OLD Mozambican man clung to a tree in the raging Komati river for more than five hours before a rescue helicopter could reach him.

Mandla Malati lives in the Phiva trust near Komatipoort. He was trapped when he attempted to cross the Komati river on a raft. Currents churned up by the raging torrent tipped his raft over and dragged him under.

The river dragged him over a tree, the top branches of which just poked out of the water. He managed to grab onto the branches and then clung for his life. A police helicopter, piloted by Colonel Henk Goedhart, was summoned from Nelspruit to save him.

Warrant Officers Danie Theron of the SAPS rescue unit in the Lowveld was lowered onto Malati to pluck him out of the water.

Three people — a woman and two children — have so far drowned in the floods.

In Lydenburg the Dorpsriver burst its banks to flood homes and temporarily cut off the town from access roads.

Speaking to The Witness from Skukuza at the Kruger Park yesterday, trainee teacher at the Skukuza Primary School Chantal Gillespie said the water levels had receded by late yesterday.

She said the golf course was a sad sight, strewn with dead fish left behind as the flood waters subsided while hippos were standing in the shallow waters left over in Lake Panic after it burst its banks on Wednesday afternoon.

Gillespie said one good thing about the flood was that the rivers had been cleared of debris which meant that heavy rain in the near future would pass through the river system more easily. She said while the flood had been an adventure of sorts, for many caught up in its drama, it was extremely nerve-wracking at times, “especially in the dark”.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.