Motorist narrowly escapes death as boulders roll on to Franschhoek Pass, Western Cape
A motorist escaped serious injury on Saturday morning, 22 June 2019, after a rockslide at Franschhoek Pass during rainy weather. Marc Thackwray, 28, suffered a few bumps and scratches but was otherwise uninjured after massive boulders rained down on his car. Western Cape traffic chief, Kenny Africa, 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 10h25. "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.
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 apparently then jumped out the vehicle. A big boulder apparently 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. The men escaped serious injury, with the younger spraining his knee.
The South African Weather Service issued severe weather alerts for the Western Cape this weekend. Cold, snow, strong winds and heavy rain were forecast. Sir Lowry's Pass was closed on Saturday afternoon after a head-on collision between a Ford Ranger and a Bantam Bakkie. Africa said two men in the bakkie were killed while two others were injured.
Africa said the Franschhoek pass would remain closed "until further notice".