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Paul Bevis, NSRI Durban duty commander, said: At 16h56, Tuesday, 2 January, an NSRI Durban swift water rescue team was activated to assist Police Search and Rescue at an incident on the Umgeni River, KwaDabeka, at the Midway Crossing Bridge, near to F Section, where 2 locals, a male and a female, were trapped inside their vehicle in the fast-flowing river.

It appears that while crossing a low-level bridge the vehicle was caught in the rapidly flowing water and was swept away coming to a halt with the river flowing around, and at times over the vehicle. The 2 occupants, a male age 52 and a female age 32, unable to exit, remained trapped in the vehicle.

The SA Police Services, Police Search and Rescue, Police K9 Search and Rescue, KwaDabeka Metro Police, Metro Police Search and Rescue, KwaDabeka Fire and Rescue Services, START Rescue, KZN Government Health EMS (EMRS), Netcare 911 ambulance services, and IPSS Medical Rescue were on the scene.

Our NSRI Durban rescue vehicle and NSRI rescue swimmers, in private vehicles, responded.

On arrival on the scene rescue swimmers were deployed downstream with throw lines.

An IPSS Croc, a Police Search and Rescue Croc and an NSRI Durban Croc were launched onto the river attached to rope lines.

NSRI rescue commanders assisted Police in the coordination of the joint technical swift water rescue operation.

In a technical swift water rescue operation, Crocs were manoeuvred to the vehicle, in the first case with a Police Search and Rescue rescue diver onboard a Croc, where the female was successfully rescued from the vehicle and brought safely to shore, then, with a Metro Police Search and Rescue rescue diver onboard a Croc, the male was successfully rescued from the vehicle and brought safely to shore.

Both casualties were medically checked by paramedics and not inured they required no further assistance.

Efforts will be made by towing services to recover their vehicle.

A search was conducted for a, believed to be, adult male public member, who it appears may have attempted to rescue the couple before emergency services arrived on the scene.

Police are investigating a possible missing person in that area.

There remains no sign of the missing man.

A Police helicopter has been deployed, on Wednesday morning, accompanied by an NSRI rescue commander and Police Search and Rescue rescue divers to search for a missing person on the Umgeni River, from this case of the vehicle trapped in the river, and a search for a missing teenager on the KZN North Coast, missing in the surf line from an unrelated incident.

The teamwork between the services deployed, at the Umgeni River scene, is commended.

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