Wife jumped into river to try and save husband after car swept away

2016-03-10 14:00
Rescue workers in Pretoria North where a car was washed way during floods (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Rescue workers in Pretoria North where a car was washed way during floods (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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VIDEO FROM THE SCENE: Car washed away in Pretoria flash flood

2016-03-10 12:49

Emergency personnel were struggling to retrieve a car swept away by midday on Thursday, 10 March 2016.WATCH

Pretoria - The wife of a man whose car was washed away during floods in Honingnestkrans in Pretoria North tried to jump into a river to save him, the family said on Thursday.

"Melanie got here this morning and she saw the car in the water and ran in. A diver stopped her," said brother-in-law Percy Pitzer.

Leon Strydom, 40, a father of two, was on his way to work when his car got swept away.

Emergency services said it was presumed that he was dead.

- PICS: Rain causes traffic chaos in Pretoria

The family said they became worried when Strydom failed to pick up his brother.

"His brother called and said he was late to pick him up. We started to get worried and we kept calling him but there was no answer," he said.

According to witnesses on the scene, the car was swept away around 06:00 following heavy rains in the city.

"We dropped the children at school and I told my wife we must drive to see if we can find him. We called the community policing forum and they said a car washed away," said Pitzer.

Rescue operations have been under way since the morning, but were being hampered by rain. Divers went into the river on two occasions, but came back empty handed.

Operations were halted when a downpour started again.

Emergency services spokesperson Johan Pieterse said rescuers had tried to get to the car, but it became dangerous and they had to return.

"It was stuck by a tree, but the car started to move when they tried to get in. The divers got out without getting anyone. It is now stuck under a bridge 50 metres from where it was," he said.

Pieterse said operations had to be stopped as the water levels got high. He said the current was also too strong.

"They are going to wait until the water subsides to get in. If there is a person in that vehicle, we presume he might be dead. It has now changed from a rescue to a recovery. No person has been found, but there is a person missing," said Pieterse.

(Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Read more on:    pretoria  |  weather

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