23 June 2019

South Africa: 'It All Happened So Fast!' - Motorist Who Escaped Death When Boulders Fell On Car

"It all happened so fast! I cannot remember the exact details, I am just glad I got out with no injuries..."

This is how 28-year-old Marc Thackwray described his ordeal when he narrowly escaped death following a rockslide at Franschhoek Pass during rainy weather on Saturday.

Thackwray is in good spirits after making it out of the rock fall with little to no injuries.

News24 reported how Thackwray and his stepfather got caught in the landslide on Saturday.

Pictures showed their white car battered by the rocks, resulting in a crumpled bonnet and dented roof.

As the boulders came raining down, Thackwray realised they were in grave danger.

He told News24 he simply heard his stepfather urging him to run from their car.

'We started running'

"It all happened in a blink of an eye. We started running and the rocks began to fall... As they fell, the rocks would break into a million pieces and one hit my ankle and I fell," he said.

Thackwray recalled getting up immediately and running until he was a safe distance away from the falling rocks.

"I had never heard of or seen anything like this, not even when I used to live in Mpumalanga."

Pass closed

Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa on Saturday said the pass was closed because rocks had fallen on to the road. Authorities had to turn motorists away from both sides of the pass.

Photos showed Thackwray's white car battered by the rocks, resulting in a crumpled bonnet and dented roof.

Maki Chase and her husband Steve were driving through the pass to McGregor when they came to a stop around 10:25.

"We could just see a little white car right next to this huge landslide. It was raining. We stopped in shock," she told News24.

She said the driver was out of the car and his passenger, Thackwray, was lying next to the road in shock and pain.

'Blood on his hands and knees'

They thought Thackwray had broken bones."

He showed me blood on his hands and knees," she said."He and his stepfather had been driving from Struisbaai down the mountain and his step-dad had his wits about him because when he saw rocks falling, he apparently said hold on and slammed on the brakes."

After the boulders hit, the men jumped out the vehicle.

A big boulder fell on the front bonnet first and swung the vehicle around, before another boulder hit the back door of the vehicle on the passenger side.

Chase said it would have taken a while for an ambulance to arrive so she drove them to the hospital.

"I am a bit sore but it is nothing too bad, just a few scratches on my arms and legs," Thackwray told News24.

He sprained his leg, has a swollen hand and is currently recuperating at his sister Samantha's home following a medical check-up.

"My medical check-up went well and we are currently just dealing with the ordeal until we make a plan to return home," he said.

Africa said the pass remained closed. "It is very difficult to say at this stage when it will be opened again."

Source: News24

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