Head on collision at Sand River bridge – update

The car belonging to Sea Vista headmaster, Charles Coenraad, was involved in a head on collision with a 4×4 on the Sand River Bridge this evening.

Fortunately no one was badly hurt.  Earlier reports had said that his wife, Armine, had been seriously injured in the accident. However, although an ambulance did rush her to hospital she was discharged and at home three hours later.

A visibly shaken husband, Charles, speaking after the accident, said he was driving back home across the gravel Sand River bridge and had almost crossed completely over when a white 4×4 wheel drive Colt, entered the bridge from the St Francis Bay side.

Charles Coenraad's car came to a rest at this spot after it was shunted backwards across the Sand River Bridge in a head on collision with a 4x4 vehicle this evening

The two cars collided and the huge force of the impact shunted Coenraad’s car back across the bridge almost midway and not far from the river.

An SAP officer talking to Charles Coenraad at the accident scene on the Sand River Bridge this evening.

St Francis Bay SAP and the Kouga Traffic department are investigating the cause of the accident. Charles was unhurt and the driver of the Colt, a middle-aged man, was also unhurt. The latter,  believed to be a golfer from Joubertina, was allowed to drive his vehicle away from the scene after being interrogated by the SAP.

A tow truck arrived to take Coenraad’s car away and the headmaster was taken home by family members.

The tow truck representative talking to Charles Coenraad.

The heavy and continual rain in St Francis Bay all day today has made the Sand River Bridge exceptionally slippery and there are many potholes on it filled with muddy water – giving one a rather bumpy ride across.

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This is the seventh accident at the Sand River Bridge this year, but it believed to be the first that has been reported to the SAP and the Kouga Traffic Department.

Two temporary Sand River Bridges washed away twice in July this year after two heavy rainfalls brought the Sand River down in flood  (although the one was a controlled flood). The current bridge is also a temporary bridge.

A new bridge is planned with construction expected sometime next year. However, construction can only start after what is expected to be an extensive EIA.

The St Francis Bay Residents Association that has been negotiating about the safety and the upgrade of the bridge said yesterday: “In response to repeated correspondence, meetings and phone calls to the appropriate authorities, we have had a verbal assurance from Marius Keyser of the Provincial Roads Department that they aim to complete the widening and strengthening of the Sand River causeway by the end of November, whereupon they will raise the weight limit to 30 tonnes.”

Photos: Bev Mortimer

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