A Ballito couple were lucky to escape without injury when their vehicle slid 10m down a steep and icy slope. Pictures: Berg Protection.
Sani Pass - A Ballito couple narrowly escaped without injury when their SUV slid down an icy mountain pass on Sunday.

Nathan and Brigitte Renald were on their way back from a night in snowy Sani Pass when their Audi Q5 lost grip and slid more than 10 meters down a steep slope.

Debby Deavin, a tactical paramedic at Berg Protection, said the couple was fortunate that the vehicle did not roll on to its side.

“The vehicle had all the traction devices but that wasn’t enough to stop it rolling. Fortunately, it rolled on its wheels, nose down, until one of the wheels locked on some rocks which stopped it.

“The couple then climbed out on the upward side. They were very lucky they didn’t slip all the way down the embankment, that whole area is just boulders.”

Deavin said responding to the accident had its own challenges as the area was flooded with snow-seeking tourists. There was a blanket of snow on the Drakensberg Mountains on Sunday. It took them about an hour to get to the scene after receiving the call just before 11am.

“The whole area is incredibly precarious, there are tight bends in excess of 45 degrees.

“We were able to stabilise the vehicle and anchor it with rope,” said Deavin. This was to secure the vehicle until it can be towed on Monday.

Under normal circumstances, they would have also disconnected the battery as a safety precaution, but in this case, it was too hazardous to open the bonnet, she said.

The Renalds could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Nerve-racking experience

Bluff couple Sherwyn and his wife Stacy Norton passed the scene on their way home from Lesotho.

Although Sherwyn is an experienced 4x4 driver, he said driving down Sani Pass was nerve-racking, especially with his young children in the vehicle.

The Nortons, like many others, travelled to see the snow which Snow Report’s Rob Ensell and Richard Le Sueur said had started falling on the Lesotho side at about 1am on Saturday.

Reporting from the scene of the crash later, Snow Report posted a video on their Facebook page where the Renalds’ vehicle can be seen seemingly hanging at an angle on the incline behind Ensell.

While there was some sunshine in the afternoon leading to the snow melting fast, temperatures were expected to plummet below zero overnight.

Ensell said while there was still some snow on the mountains, they were not expecting more snow over t he next few days.

Temperatures are expected to remain within the low to mid teens throughout the province, despite a cold front having passed the country.

Forecaster for the SA Weather Services, Stacy Colborne, said the cold front was followed by a ridging high pressure system which pushed moisture from the ocean, leading to the weekend rains and drop in temperature.

The province is only expected to warm up on Wednesday with sunny skies and the mercury rising to 20°C in most areas.

The Mercury