During the early hours of Wednesday morning, August 9, a pedestrian bridge collapsed onto the N3 highway which resulted in a full road closure between Van Buuren Road and the M2 Geldenhuis Interchange.
A female passenger survived after being trapped inside the cab for about two hours while rescue teams battled to extricate her out of the wreckage after the truck, in which she was travelling, crashed into the collapsed pedestrian bridge running.
Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS) received the call at 01:23 and both Bedfordview and Germiston Central fire stations rescue teams swiftly responded.
On arrival it was found that four vehicles, three trucks and a sedan, crashed into the concrete bridge lying across both North and South bounds of the freeway.
A total of five patients were accounted for from all vehicles. Three from one truck were still trapped inside the cab and two in other vehicles escaped with minor injuries.
Rescue teams had to use the jaws of life to rescue those trapped inside the cab. The driver and a seven-year-old girl were transported to Bertha Gxowa hospital in Germiston in stable conditions, while the adult female passenger was airlifted to Linmed hospital in critical condition.
The driver of one of the trucks sustained stable injuries and was transported to Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg, while the fifth patient – from the sedan -sustained minor injuries and refused transportation.
The freeway is still closed to traffic in both directions and motorist are advised to avoid using the N3 freeway through Geldenhuys interchange as it will take time to clear up the debris.
The actual cause of the bridge collapse is still undetermined and investigations are underway.