Durban - Lying face down on a busy road, hands bound, and with a heavy-duty truck fast approaching, a Durban man said a short and desperate prayer.

“There was nothing I could do except pray,” said Robert Zimobe after he was mugged, assaulted and pushed on to a busy freeway.

Zimobe, 23, from Mobeni Heights, was walking to work on Friday afternoon when he was approached by two knife-wielding men on the N2 southbound, under the Lamontville Bridge.

“When they got closer to me they pulled out knives and demanded money and my cellphone,” said Zimobe, speaking from Umlazi’s Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital.

Struggling to project his voice, or move because of the excruciating pain from the injuries, Zimobe said he tried to put up a fight when the men demanded his belongings.

“There were people on the other side of the road hiking, so I thought they would see me,” he recalled. But the men were not deterred by his resistance, pressing both the knives against him. “One of them pulled out string,” he said.

That’s when he decided to stop resisting and give the robbers what they wanted.

After taking his belongings, the men tied his hands. That’s when Zimobe knew they weren’t just going to “rough” him up and let him go. “I started pleading with them,” he said, crying in what he described as unbearable pain as a male nurse changed his sheet.

“I begged them to please let me go as they had taken what they wanted and I even said that I wouldn’t report them to the police.” But his plea fell on deaf ears, and he was shoved on to the road.

“I remember going down. It was if I went down in a slow motion. The robbery happened so quickly, but I remember falling down so slowly. I remember hitting the road and thinking, this is it for me.”

As he tried to push himself up Zimobe said a truck came down the long stretch. “I heard it hooting repeatedly, but I couldn’t move. I made the shortest, but the most desperate prayer of my life.”

The truck missed his upper body, running over his legs and feet.

The truck driver stopped and alerted the police.

SAPS police spokesman captain Thulani Zwane confirmed the incident and said Montclair police were investigating the case, adding that no arrests had been made.

Metro police spokesman senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi said when they attended to the scene they thought it was a “straightforward” accident”.

“But when our video room guys alerted us to the footage which had been captured by CCTV cameras we were shocked that he survived such a malicious attack,” he said.

Although he didn’t know the extent of his injuries – one nurse said that he had broken his pelvis – Zimobe said he was grateful to be alive.

“Lying there, feeling powerless and seeing the truck approach me, I just prayed and prayed. I don’t know why those guys were so heartless, but I pray they get caught,” he said. - Independent on Saturday