Man drowns as SUV is swept off bridge into raging Hartbeespoort spruit
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Pretoria - Torrential rain that lashed different parts of the City of Tshwane over the weekend, claimed the life of a man who drowned in the Hartbeespoort spruit in the Roodeplaat area.
Tshwane emergency services spokesperson Charles Mabaso said the man’s body and SUV he was driving were recovered just after 8am yesterday.
This followed an intense search launched by a combined team of police divers, search-and-rescue technicians from Tshwane emergency services, the Gauteng emergency medical services, and a towing service before midnight on Saturday.
“Tshwane emergency services received a call just before midnight on Saturday, reporting a vehicle had been swept off a low-crossing bridge near Hengelaar and Seekoei roads in the Roodeplaat area, with victims possibly trapped inside the vehicle,” Mabaso said.
Emergency response teams were immediately dispatched to the scene. “Upon arrival, a vehicle was found submerged, about 1km away from where it was last seen. Emergency teams could not enter the water to carry out a search, because of the high level and speed of the water, as well as poor visibility at that time of the night in the pouring rain. The search was suspended and resumed just before 6am on Sunday,” Mabaso said.
He said a “croc” boat with divers was launched into the spruit, and the body of a man estimated to be in his 50s was recovered from inside the vehicle.
"The team used winches from their emergency services 4x4 vehicles, as well as the towing vehicle to recover the SUV from the spruit,“ Mabaso said.
The incident comes a week after a car fell over a bridge and into a river in Centurion as the heavy rains pounded Tshwane and caused flooding.
The rain had caused mayhem and destruction to property, forcing
Tshwane emergency services had to plead with residents in flood-prone areas to be vigilant and not to venture into cordoned-off places.
Mabaso said with the heavy rainfall, they warned, in particular, the residents in and around Centurion.
Their biggest challenge was keeping them away from hazardous areas, he had added.