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At 20h32, Tuesday, 27 June, NSRI Durban duty crew were activated following reports from S.T.A.R.T. (Specialised Tactical Accident Rescue Team) who were responding to a man stuck in a tree on the Umbilo River, near to Heaton Nicholls Drive, Pinetown.

Clifford Ireland, NSRI Durban coxswain, said:

At least 4 vehicles had reportedly been washed off the Umbilo River bridge at Heaton Nicholls Drive in flash floods during a heavy downpour.

One vehicle had reportedly been stuck against a tree where the local adult male driver had managed to free himself from the vehicle and he had climbed the tree to escape the fast flowing flooded river that had broken its banks.

NSRI Durban swift water rescue swimmers responded while our NSRI Durban rescue vehicle towed our NSRI JetRib rescue craft to the scene.

Netcare 911 ambulances services and eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services were also responding.

On arrival on the scene it was determined that the Heaton Nicholl Drive side of the Umbilo River was under heavy floods. Heaton Nicholl Drive bridge was at least a meter under fast flowing water.

NSRI swift water rescue swimmers approached the scene from the M13 Freeway side - North of the casualty.

The man could be seen high in a tree with flood waters washing around the tree and over his vehicle which was on its side and appeared to be wrapped around the tree.

Safety ropes were set up. An NSRI swift water rescue swimmer entered the chest deep water reaching the 51 year old man where he was secured into a life-jacket and secured to the swift water rescue swimmer.

They entered the water using a safety rope that had been attached to the opposite river bank and ferry glided along that rope through the water towards the safe river bank.

On safely reaching the river bank NSRI, Fire and S.T.A.R.T. rescue members assisted them from the fast flowing river.

Once safely out of danger the man was medically assessed by paramedics and he was not injured.

The man was driven home by NSRI.

NSRI stations in North and South KZN remain on alert to assist authorities wherever needed.

NSRI appeal to motorists and pedestrians not to cross over roadway bridges that are flooded and not to try to negotiate water logged roadways.

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