Assistant driver trapped after fuel tanker crashes into bridge on N12 east, Johannesburg; both legs amputated
On Saturday afternoon, 7 January 2023 at approximately 15h00, a fuel tanker crashed on Kliprivier Road bridge over the N12 in Johannesburg and landed on the embankment of the bridge. Xolile Khumalo, media liaison officer at the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (CoJEMS), reported, “A hazmat unit from Turffontein Fire Station was also dispatched to the scene. On arrival, they found one male patient, the assistant driver, who was trapped. The driver had been already transported to hospital. The cabin of the truck had collided with the bridge and the tanker was unstable, hanging over N12, leaking fuel.”
“The UN Number on the tanker was UN1023, which indicated petrol; however, the team was made aware by the trapped assistant driver that it was diesel and not petrol. Engine 29 and water tanker connected 65mm hoses to the ground monitor to safeguard possible fire that may occur. Fuel spillage was contained using portable dams. Oil absorbents were used to minimise the greasy ground and to confine the leaking flowing fuel’, said Khumalo.
“Both N12 East and N12 West were closed as well as Kliprivier off-ramp. Attempts were made to release the trapped patient, due to unstableness of the vehicle the extrication had to halt until the heavy-duty breakdown arrived and stabilised the tanker.”
Khumalo added, “The trapped patient was treated by private a private ambulance service provider whilst inside the cabin. A trauma surgeon doctor was called in to assist. Due to the severity of the injuries, he decided that it would be best to amputate both legs on scene. The patient was sedated and both legs were amputated on scene by the trauma surgeon. The patient was transported to Baragwanath Hospital by a private ambulance service. At around 00h30am the process of releasing the amputated legs underneath the tank resumed. Due to the nature and complexity of the incident, the extrication of limbs was only completed at around 03h00am.”
Khumalo explained the challenges experienced during this incident, which included the need for extra heavy-duty specialised equipment for stabilisation. The damage to the bridge needed the team to be cautious. Also the confined cabin space to work in and working on the slippery ground due to the fuel and oil leaks”, said
Vehicles in attendance
In terms of the pre-determined vehicle dispatching procedure, the following vehicles with their crews were dispatched and their arrival times were recorded as follows:
* The above-mentioned figures are inclusive of the driver and officer.
On arrival, it was reported that one patient, the driver, was earlier transported by Gauteng Provincial Government Ambulance and the assistant driver was still trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated. No other injuries were reported during the incident.
Medical crew included ER24, Netcare including a trauma surgeon was on scene to assess, treat and monitor the patient while awaiting to stabilise the vehicle, and monitor staff.
Other organisations on scene included the South African Police Service, Johannesburg Metro Police Department and the Gauteng Provincial Government Department of Health.
Source: Xolile Khumalo, media liaison officer, City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (CoJEMS)