Lesotho — At approximately 10am on July 15, ER24 received numerous distress calls from beyond the borders of South Africa. The ER24 Emergency Contact Centre received emergency calls from people trapped on the Butha Buthe pass on route to Afri-Ski and the Oxborn Lodge.
The ER24 Bethlehem station is familiar with the pass and its dangers. A strategic plan and decision was followed to assist the people stranded. Shortly after 11:00 paramedics arrived at the scene where they found that almost 30 vehicles were either stuck, or involved in collisions as they skidded on the icy surface.
Paramedics from ER24 assessed the incident that stretched over 1,5km. Multiple people were found with slight hypothermia and dehydration. One of the patients was a diabetic and needed urgent assistance as his medication was running out. Another was treated for asthma on the scene. A heavily pregnant woman and a child with croup were also assessed.
Paramedics were assisted by members from the 4x4 Club to access some of the difficult areas. ER24 would like to thank Christo Davids (4x4 Club and local mine) and Kobus Vd Berg (4x4 Club Kimberley) for gathering their club's food and water and then handing it out to the people that were stranded on the pass.
All of the people were assisted and transported by an ER24 shuttle ambulance to a temporary clinic erected in Fouriesburg. They were later transferred, once medically cleared, to guesthouses in the area. A total of 41 people were assessed and treated by emergency staff.
A team effort between private emergency services and the local community made it possible to assist everyone on the pass. Paramedics completed their duties at 18:00 this evening.