Brave Fire Fighter Loses Life Attempting to Save Taxi Passenger in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga Flood

MPUMALANGA – A brave fire fighter who had already saved one life, died this morning in Kwaggafontein whilst trying to save the life of another, during the floods in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Updated: 20h00, 7 Jan 2017

The fireman’s name has not yet been disclosed. The courageous firefighter – from Thembisile Hani – had already rescued the taxi driver, whose vehicle was stranded on a low-level bridge after the river flooded during during Saturday’s heavy rains.

The fireman managed to get the driver safely to shore before returning to save a female passenger who was left remaining in the taxi. As he was attempting to rescue her, the taxi was pushed over by the force of the water, and rolled over into the river where it was swept away. Both the fireman and the female passenger were tragically taken under by the force. Their bodies were recovered late this afternoon.

ER24 Emergency Medical Service said: “Our deepest condolences to the fire fighter’s family, friends and colleagues that risked his life to save others when a car was washed down a river near Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga this morning.”

Jacques Benade from the Provincial Fire Coordination Unit added: “We mourn this loss and honour him for this selfless act of duty and dedication… He paid the ultimate price in his rescue attempt this morning. We mourn his loss.”

At least 33 motor vehicle accidents have been reported in the City of Joburg alone since this morning, related to the downpour.

ER24 called on drivers to exercise caution on the roads which are slippery. Many South Africans are on the road, heading home from the festive season holidays this weekend.

All search-and-rescue operators in Gauteng are still on high flood alert. Motorists and pedestrians are advised that if you cannot see the road, then do not walk or drive on it because it could endanger your life.

The Kruger National Park’s Skukuza camp site on the banks of the Sabie River, also in Mpumulanga province, has also experienced flooding – watch videos here. 

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