Student doctor hijacked

2016-12-19 11:24
Australian medical student Tom Morrison has been hijacked after only being in South Africa for three weeks.

Australian medical student Tom Morrison has been hijacked after only being in South Africa for three weeks. (Supplied)

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An Australian medical student, who has been in the country for three weeks, was hijacked outside Edendale Hospital and held hostage for over three hours.

The 22-year-old student has heaped praise on police for rescuing him and arresting one of his hijackers.

New South Wales sixth-year medical student Tom Morrison landed in South Africa last month to work at Edendale Hospital for five weeks as stipulated by his university.

Morrison had just completed a 13-hour shift and had left Edendale Hospital’s emergency and trauma unit just after midnight when two men approached his car when he stopped at a traffic light.

With a gun pointed at his head, the men told Morrison to get out of the driver’s seat, and forced him into the back where one of the hijackers kept his knee on top of Morrison’s head to stop him “from seeing them”.

“They started driving. I couldn’t see where we were going. We drove for about 15 to 20 minutes before they stopped and two different men replaced them.

“I knew they were not the same men as their voices were different.”

Morrison said he also caught a glimpse of his new abductors.

“They asked if I had money and I said I didn’t so they took my bank cards,” he said.

He said they then drove for 40 minutes or so, before stopping at an ATM in Camperdown.

The men withdrew money and left while two other men got into the car and they started travelling towards Pietermaritzburg, he said.

“They told me they would drop me off near Greys Hospital, and that is when I saw the blue and red lights and the sirens.”

Morrison said the men slowed down the car as if they were going to pull over, but then decided otherwise and sped off until they reached a dead-end that led into bush.

He said they drove through the bush with the one man jumping out of the moving car and the other waiting until the car had stopped.

When the car came to a halt, the man also jumped out and ran, while Morrison carefully climbed out of the car.

“I saw six or seven police cars, they had their guns on me and told me to put my hands up. I walked slowly towards them and they realised that I was just a medical student.”

Still in his scrubs, police guided Morrison to safety while other policemen and the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit searched the overgrowth for the two hijackers.

Morrison said the police arrested one man who was “ironically” taken to the Edendale trauma and emergency unit where he had just finished his shift.

He said he felt “apprehensive” during the whole ordeal, but had a “feeling” that the men were not going to hurt him.

He said training to be a doctor had taught him not to panic and to weigh up his options in difficult situations before reacting.

After being rescued by the police at 3.30 am yesterday, Morrison went to the Plessislaer police station to answer questions before finally heading back to the Greys Hospital doctor’s quarters where he is staying.

“The police were absolutely incredible,” he said.

“They were very quick to respond, well-trained and I am extraordinarily grateful.”

Morrison, who turned on Saturday, said the support he had received from the doctors and nurses he had been working with had been “amazing”.

Undeterred by the incident, Morrison will continue working at Edendale Hospital for the duration of his stay in South Africa.

Plessislaer police spokesperson Captain Musa Ntombela said they had received a tip-off that a car had been hijacked near Edendale and immediately sent police vehicles out to search for the vehicle.

He said with the help of the tracker inside the car, they traced the vehicle to Mkondeni where the driver tried to escape police but came to a dead-end.

He said the driver of the hijacked car was arrested and was expected to appear in court today [Monday].

“We are still searching for the others involved in the hijacking and will see if they are linked to any other cases,” he Ntombela.

“I would like to thank the police and the Pietermaritzburg K9 Unit for their quick response and hope that this will send a message to others that if they commit a crime, they will be caught.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hijacking

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