PICS | Two workers rescued in Cape Town after being trapped in storm water pipe

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Two men rescued from a storm water pipe (Supplied by City of Cape Town)
Two men rescued from a storm water pipe (Supplied by City of Cape Town)
  • Two men have been rescued from a storm water pipe in Cape Town.
  • The men were trapped after they were overcome by hazardous vapours, and subsequently collapsed.
  • They were rushed to hospital and are in a critical condition.


Two men were rescued after they were trapped in a storm water pipe in Cape Town on Tuesday.

According to the City of Cape Town, the men were doing maintenance work when they were overcome by hazardous vapours and collapsed.

The City's firefighters were called to attend to the situation under the Weltevreden Bridge, across the R300, near Mitchells Plain, at approximately 16:00.

"They called for the technical confined space rescue team from Goodwood to assist Metro Emergency Medical Service and were joined by Metro ambulance staff, Law Enforcement, Traffic Service and South African Police Service officers, as well as a private ambulance service," the City said in a statement.

READ | Two good Samaritans rescue teen at Cape Town beach

The Goodwood station commander, Warren Sam, took over as the incident commander and immediately enforced a confined space rescue system. 

The scene was cleared, only authorised personnel were allowed, a clear line of sight to the manhole opening was created and a communication system was maintained.

storm water pipe
Two men rescued from a storm water pipe (Supplied by City of Cape Town)

"Gas reading showed oxygen levels were only acceptable when fresh air was being pumped in through the manhole. Without it, the oxygen level dropped rapidly and this was a concern. This meant they had to do a gas reading every five minutes, increasing the pressure on what was already a tense situation," said Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith.

Metro Rescue set up a quadpod, with rope systems, for a high anchor point above the opening.

water storm
Two men rescued from a storm water pipe (Supplied by City of Cape Town)

Firefighters assisted with additional rope work for the hauling and lowering of the rescuer and the patients. 

The City added that both patients were in critical condition at Vincent Pallotti Hospital.

"I am proud of our firefighters, who took control of the situation, to ensure everyone involved was safe. Throughout the rescue, it was the contractor who ensured fresh air, which maintained the survival oxygen level. I commend all on scene for their teamwork and dedication, which ensure a successful rescue," Smith added.

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