Four construction workers narrowly escaped drowing after a flash flood swept down the Tugela River in the South African province of Natal on Monday (4 October).
Four construction workers narrowly escaped drowing after a flash flood swept down the Tugela River in the South African province of Natal on Monday (4 October). The man had been drilling holes in the rock face of the river bank when a six foot (2 metre) wall of water cascaded down river.
SYNOPSIS: Within seconds they were stranded on a rocky island with the murky torrent closing in on them every minute. When people on shore realised what had happened they sounded the alarm and within five minutes a Puma helicopter was sent to rescue them. By the time it arrived on the scene the men were standing waist deep in water and the water level was rising rapidly.
With precision and skill the helicopter crew hauled the stranded flood victims aborad. And just 34 minutes after the distress call had gone out the men were safe on the bank of the Tugela cold and exhausted but unhurt. They were then taken to hospital for observation.
Afterwards Jan van der Merwe, the rigger in charge of the ill-fated crew, described what happened.