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Cape Town -
A man in his forties is fighting for his life after his bakkie was crushed by a 24-ton metal floating dock that fell off a truck in front of him.
The truck’s high load was swept off the vehicle and on to the bakkie by the Lower Church Street bridge in Cape Town.
The collision happened at about 2.30pm on the outbound lane of the N1, closing the road for three hours and causing traffic chaos during the afternoon rush hour.
Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extract the bakkie driver before he was taken to Groote Schuur.
Hospital spokesman Alaric Jacobs said the man had head injuries and was in a serious condition. He has not been named.
Simon Pfotenhauer, who was driving directly behind the bakkie, said the accident had happened very quickly and the injured man had not had a chance to brake.
“I had to hit brakes to avoid being involved in the accident.”
Pfotenhauer, a member of the Table View Neighbourhood Watch, immediately radioed for help.
He at first thought the load was a container.
“It was a floating dock, I think the mistake of container came when I called it in. I was in such shock but the medics responded rapidly.
“As soon as I’d called it in I went to help the man. The bakkie door was half open and he was half falling out. I held his head in my hands until the medics came. Now I am just praying he makes it.”
Pfotenhauer said it was fortunate there was no passenger in the bakkie since that side of the vehicle had been completely flattened.
“I think the dock was not properly secured. When I looked at the side of the truck there was a chain with a broken hook hanging from it.
“If it had been properly secured the truck would have just stopped when the load couldn’t go under the bridge.”
Provincial Traffic chief Kenny Africa described the afternoon peak as chaos with motorists being redirected to the N2 and through the harbour.
“It was a hectic accident. The road was reopened after more than three hours, but the traffic was backed up for a long time.”
The truck’s load was removed with a crane and the road was reopened just before 6pm.
In 2008, two women were killed when their car was flattened by a container on the N1 near the Koeberg Interchange.