Nine people escape serious injury at Sand River Bridge

Nine people travelling from Humansdorp to St Francis Bay escaped serious injury when the Combi they were travelling in flew through a barrier and landed on the opposite bank at the Sand River Bridge early this morning.

Photo caption: Combi with nine passengers inside, vaults from one side of the Sand River Bridge to the other. Photo: St Francis Chronicle.

The vehicle went through the red arrow barrier as it approached from Humansdorp, knocking over a pole before careering straight ahead and landing  on the bank bolstering the  road bridge as these photos, below, show.

St Francis Bay SAP estimate the accident happened just before 5.30 am. Fellow SAP colleagues spotted the vehicle lying on the bank below the Sand River Bridge that they were crossing during their a change of shift.

There were no critical injured passengers but three had minor injuries . The latter were taken to Humansdorp hospital by ambulance and the other six passengers went along for support.

Police said the driver and other passengers were not in the vehicle when they arived there and the alleged driver was sober. The passengers were according to police being transferred home to Sea Vista after having attended a wedding in Humansdorp, when the vehicle left the bridge.

The tow truck drivers said they would have “to winch” the Combi out.

More than a dozen vehicles – from luxury 4x4s to smaller vehicles, new and old, have launched off the bridge and landed in the Sand River or on a bank,  since a second temporary bridge was built in August last year. Some of the cars were valued at around R1-million. 

Though signage and barriers are at the bridge, these are considered ineffective by many observers. There have been repeated calls to the Provincial Roads Department – under whose jurisdiction the bridge falls – to place more adequate signage and barriers on the sides of the bridge. 

Fortunately so far no one has been seriously injured at the bridge and there have been no lives lost in the accidents.

Combi lands just below the R330 road that crosses the Sand River early this morning. Photo St Francis Chronicle.

The Sand River Bridge has washed away four times in 15 months during floods. The last time was in October this year when residents of St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis were again marooned. St Francis Chronicle reported recently that construction of a new, bigger, stronger and safer bridge will only start in 2014 – as there first has to be an EIA.

The Combi careered through the red arrow sign posts, knocking over one pole before launching through the air onto the opposite bank.

The police and observers are concerned that with the festive season approaching and many youngsters and visitors crossing the bridge there could be more accidents. There have been renewed appeals to have improved, proper metal barriers erected along the sides of the bridge before the holidays start.

See  articles on two recent accidents:

 See wash away of bridge in October 2012:

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