Durban - A man who fell 100m from a bridge on the N3 on Sunday night was lucky to be alive, paramedics said.
The 35-year-old man went over the side of the highway bridge between Mariannhill and Shongweni. He broke his arm and injured his back and neck.
Witnesses said his car was parked nearby.
ER24’s, Vanessa Jackson, said the man had fallen over the concrete barrier at the side of the highway on the Pietermaritzburg-bound carriageway between the toll plaza and the Shongweni/Assagay turn-off.
Paramedics arrived and were almost certain the man had been killed after his fall into the dense bush below, she said, but rescuers found him alert and conscious, and complaining of pain.
“The circumstances surrounding the reasons why the man went over in the first place remain to be investigated by the police, who were involved in the call,” she said.
ER24’s Derrick Banks, said members of the public who had seen the injured man reported the incident to metro police.
“We responded to the call [passed on from metro before 8.30pm] in under five minutes, because some of our team was at Hillcrest Private Hospital at the time,” he said.
The man, he said, was in a stable condition but had been moved to the hospital’s high care unit for observation.
Captain Troy Allison, of the Saps Search and Rescue team, said the rescue was “pretty straight forward”.
“The traffic wasn’t too heavy, so we didn’t have a problem there either.”
He said he and his team had received the call via radio at around 8.45pm and responded immediately.
“When we arrived at the bridge, we saw the form of a human body [below it]. We then began our rescue operation.”
He said one of his members abseiled down to the victim and found that he was still alive, but injured.
“Medical crews on the scene stabilised him and then using a rope-rescue system, we slowly hoisted him up so he could be transported to a nearby hospital.”
Jackson said the team had to go over the side of the bridge to pull the man up in a specialised stretcher. “The rescuers then managed to bring the man up to the top of the bridge.”
She said that despite the distance of the fall, he had sustained only what seemed to be a broken arm, possible neck and back injuries and multiple scrapes and cuts.
He was taken by ambulance to the Hillcrest Private Hospital. - Daily News