Durban - A Good Samaritan who attempted to save the life of a stabbing victim watched in horror as emergency crews in both a provincial ambulance and a police van allegedly turned a blind eye to the dying man, who was being guarded by his injured dog.
Karthigasen Nair, 39, had been walking to his Westville home with his pit bull terrier, Taylor, on Sunday evening when he was attacked by a knife-wielding robber.
He and the dog were stabbed several times by a robber who took his cellphone, in King Cetswayo Highway (Jan Smuts Avenue) near the N3.
After the attack the dog refused to let anyone near Nair, witness Sheraz Khan said on Wednesday.
Describing the incident, Khan said Nair tripped while trying to flee and fell on his back.
He said Taylor tried to protect Nair but the robber stabbed the animal before jumping on Nair’s chest and stabbing him numerous times.
Khan, who had been on his way to the petrol station to buy a newspaper, said he rushed to help Nair.
“I jumped out of my vehicle with my firearm on my side and screamed. The robber turned his attention to me.
“As he saw my firearm in my hand he turned around and fled into the nearby bushes, which have a few shacks located there near Piedmont Road.”
When Khan returned to help Nair he noticed he was bleeding profusely. Nair stumbled to his feet looking disorientated, said Khan.
He said Nair’s wounded dog was trying to attack anyone who attempted to go near its owner.
“I tried to push my thumb into a severe wound in his chest and another on his thigh but his dog was just so vicious it refused to let me near him. It kept barking and went insane,” said Khan, a self-employed furniture manufacturer.
He said a metro police officer who arrived could also not get near Nair. Not long after, a Greenwood Park SAPS van drove by and Khan said it stopped only briefly before driving away without assisting.
“About 10 minutes had elapsed and we were struggling to help this man. Khan said Nair started crying for help, saying, ‘I am dying, I am dying. My lungs are giving up’.”
By then Sydenham SAPS officers arrived and tried to help.
Khan said he then watched in disbelief as a KZN Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew arrived, but allegedly did nothing to help the dying man.
He said a paramedic alighted from the passenger side of the ambulance, saw the dog barking, and said they could not help.
He then jumped back into the ambulance and drove off with his colleague.
“We all screamed and the police started hooting at them as well.
“It was shocking. I still cannot believe it,” Khan said.
“By then the police were contemplating shooting the dog, who was also stabbed.
“Eventually I screamed to Nair that he needed to climb into the police vehicle so he could be transported to hospital.”
Khan said the Sydenham police van had taken Nair to King Dinuzulu (King George V) Hospital.
Nair, a recent widower and father of one, died a short while later.
His family only found out about the incident – and his death – on Tuesday night.
His father broke down on Wednesday when they met Khan, who narrated to them what he had witnessed.
Nair’s elder brother, Reon, said the family were initially not concerned when he did not return home on Sunday evening because they assumed he was at his girlfriend’s home.
Nair worked as an agricultural products inspector for Intertek, he said.
“When the company phoned on Monday afternoon stating that Karthi hadn’t gone to work we knew something was wrong.
“We started searching for him, looking around by his friends and his hang-out places. When we got to King Dinuzulu Hospital we were informed that an unidentified Indian male who was brought in by the police van had died and was at the hospital mortuary.”
Reon said his brother’s wife died three months ago and the couple had a 10-year-old daughter.
His brother was a talented golfer, having achieved SA colours at junior amateur level, he said.
The family said funeral arrangements would only be finalised once the body had been released.
Caroline Smith of Durban and Coast SPCA said an inspector had been alerted by members of the SAPS about the incident.
“When he arrived at the scene the dog had sustained stab wounds to its body and was severely traumatised. The inspector managed to use a catch pole around the dogs neck to guide her into the SPCA vehicle,” she said.
Smith said the dog was treated and stabilised and has been reunited with the family.
The KZN EMS said it had launched an immediate investigation into the incident after receiving a complaint about one of its ambulances not stopping to assist.
“The relevant managers have been informed and they will conduct an investigation into the allegations.
“The matter was brought to our attention today and will be prioritised,” said spokesman, Robert McKenzie.
“These are serious allegations, which could have serious repercussions.”
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, who confirmed the stabbing death, said Khan would be interviewed regarding his allegation that a Greenwood Park SAPS van had driven away from the crime scene.
Meanwhile, the devastated Nair family said they would be pursuing the allegations with the respective authorities.