Two people were rescued from a bakkie that was swept away in the Umgeni River on Tuesday afternoon.
A private rescue service said the man and woman were attempting to cross a low-lying bridge when the vehicle was swept away.
“IPSS Search and Rescue, together with START Rescue, NSRI, Metro Police Search and Rescue, and Durban Central K9 Search and Rescue responded to the scene,” said IPSS Medical Rescue's Kelsey-Jae Meyrick.
“On arrival, it was established that the vehicle with two occupants had been washed approximately 500m down river from where crossing was attempted.”
She said teams conducted a lengthy water search and despite challenges posed by fading light and fast flowing water, the man and woman were safely retrieved from the vehicle.
“They were assessed by Emergency Rescue Service officials and paramedics from Netcare 911,” she said.
Meyrick said there were also unconfirmed reports that a bystander was washed away while trying to rescue the occupants prior to the arrival of rescue teams.
Heavy rains accompanied by thunderstorms and lightning, have claimed the lives of 31 people, while three are still unaccounted for in KwaZulu-Natal during the month of December.
In the latest incidents, a man was struck by lightning in Eshowe on New Year’s Eve while a 64-year-old drowned while swimming on the beach in south coast, said the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
“Over 600 households were affected, with over 140 dwellings completely destroyed. Uthukela District was the most affected, with 23 fatalities recorded as a result of the floods that hit Ladysmith Town on Christmas Eve while over 100 households were damaged,” the department said in a statement issued to media on Wednesday.
Furthermore, the Umgungundlovu District suffered with most homes damaged while two deaths and one person remain missing after a car was swept away in uMsunduzi River in Pietermaritzburg.
In King Cetshwayo District over 40 households were damaged by the strong winds and several businesses within Eshowe Industrial were destroyed.
Umzinyathi District also suffered with over 100 homes affected and one fatality. This has affected over 2,000 people and rendered 21 homeless.