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Vehicle 90 accident
The open window design of the Drifter Adventures tour bus must have afforded passengers in the front a clear
image of the bridge coming ever closer right before impact.





 

TWELVE German tourists were left with varying degrees of injuries on Sunday afternoon after their luxury overland bus crashed into the Atlantic Road bridge in Muizenberg. The accident, which left paramedics and residents amazed at the lack of fatalities, occurredwhen the driver failed to notice the 3 m height restriction on the bridge and drove into it at speed. “We arrived on the scene right after the accident happened. The ambulances and rescue vehicles had not yet shown up,” says resident Karen Peiser who, along with her husband, Craig, tried to help the injured. According to Peiser, witnesses said the driver was seen rushing tourists away from a spot near the Cape Sands building, where they had been watching whales. “He was apparently in a great hurry, telling the tourists theywere running late, before ushering them into the bus. By all accounts he was driving quite fast by the time he hit the bridge,” Karen says. The extent of damage is a clear indication that the driver must have been driving pretty fast, says Craig who, as a previous owner of a restaurant right across the bridge, has seen his share of accidents. “We would see trucks driving into the bridge once a week, but this accident was the worst I have seen.


I was expecting to find body parts when I entered the bus to help the people, but thankfully, except for one tourist whose teeth were basically knocked out, everyone seemed to be fine,” says Craig, who is also trained in First Aid. “It is nothing short of a miracle that people survived.” According Rob deWet of the False Bay Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, six ambulances, five response vehicles as well as the fire departmentwere on the scenewithin minutes to assist the injured. “There were about 12 to 14 people who were injured, so all of us were working together to help. Although most sustained only superficial wounds, between four and six people were more seriously injured and taken to Constantiaberg Medi- Clinic for treatment,” De Wet says. Searle Johannes, spokesperson for Cape Town traffic services, says authorities have done everything humanly possible to ensure vehicles are aware of the bridge's 3 m height restriction. “Besides our advanced warning on roads leading to the bridge, we have signs on the bridge itself and infrared sensors which actually read a vehicle’s height. If it exceeds 3 mthe sensorswill trigger the traffic light at the bridge to turn red.” Other than raising the bridge itself, we have done what we could,” he says.

Human resource manager of Drifter Adventures, Buks Griesel, stated last night that most tourists still look set to go ahead with their planned 24-day trip to Namibia as planned.
“We will send another vehicle to accommodate tourists who want to continue,” Griesel says. He declined to divulge any details of the driver, but said the man had been working for the company “for a while now".
The accident happened on the first day of their trip.

 
 

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