One dead as rain soaks region
DESPITE a number of accidents on wet roads, only one life was reported lost during the intense rains of the past two days.
But it was a close call for two occupants of a vehicle stranded on a low-level bridge with the raging Amatikulu River sweeping them away.
The dramatic scene that unfolded ended in relief as a local farmer and Induna spotted the occupants in distress, standing on the roof of the car, and acted quickly.
A tractor was called from the nearby Wynston Farm and the vehicle and occupants were pulled safely to the bank.
The known fatality occured when a fueltanker and a car collided near the Tugela Bridge, closing the N2 north-bound lane yesterday (Wednesday) morning.
According to IPSS Medial Rescue’s Paul Herbst, the Kwadukuza Fire Department used the Jaws of Life to free the trapped driver’s body from the wreckage.
‘The driver of the truck was lucky to escape with minor injuries,’ said Herbst. It was a case of eyes on the skies as torrential rains hit especially the coastal areas within the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Coincidentally, this follows the exact pattern of torrential rain the area received in the same week of May last year.
Reports indicate the downpours were the result of a low pressure system off the coast of Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel, resulting in an onshore flow.
While game reserves within the region are joyful at the amount of rainfall over the past two days, local sugar cane farmers will now face delays in harvesting as lands are too swamped for vehicles to access.
Sadly, little rain has fallen in the critical Goedertrouw Dam catchment area.
With more downpours predicted, disaster management teams remain on standby as swollen rivers, submerged bridges, blocked roads and flooded homes are attended to.
The City of uMhlathuze confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon that at least 100 people had been evacuated from low-lying areas which had experienced flash flooding.
‘The City of uMhlathuze Disaster, Fire and Rescue teams were dispatched to various communities to rescue those who were in danger.
‘Evacuations were conducted and our teams remain on standby.
‘We have noted some damage to houses, road infrastructure, drainage and storm water drainage with our systems working to capacity in some areas failing to cope.
‘The P230 road between Empangeni and Nkwalini/ eShowe was also closed due to flooding.
‘We urge communities to cooperate with evacuation orders and also plead with road users to drive with extra caution.
‘Members of the community can contact our Call Centre on 035 9075000 for further assistance,’ said city spokesperson, Mdu Ncalane.
Heita! A pedestrian takes quick evasive action to avoid an unwelcome shower courtesy of a passing vehicle during yesterday’s heavy showers in Empangeni
The driver found himself stranded on the roof of his bakkie after attempting to cross a low-lying bridge in Amatikulu
The fatal crash scene near the Tugela Bridge on the N2