Two men were rescued by City firefighters and other private and rescue services after being trapped in a storm water pipe while doing maintenance work.
According to the City of Cape Town, the men, who work for a private contractor, were overcome by hazardous vapours and collapsed.
“The firefighters responded to a confined space emergency before 16:00 yesterday, 30 November 2021, under the Weltevreden Bridge across the R300, near Mitchells Plain.
“They called for the technical confined space rescue team from Goodwood to assist Metro Emergency Medical Service and were joined by Metro ambulance staff; Law Enforcement, Traffic Service and South African Police Service officers; as well as a private ambulance service,” the statement read.
The Goodwood station commander, Warren Sam, took over as the incident commander and immediately enforced a confined space rescue system.
The scene was cleared, only authorised personnel were allowed, a clear line of sight to the manhole opening was created and a disciplined communication system was maintained.
“Gas reading showed oxygen levels were only acceptable when fresh air was being pumped in through the manhole. Without it, the oxygen level dropped rapidly and this was a concern. This meant they had to do a gas reading every five minutes, increasing the pressure on what was already a tense situation,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Metro Rescue set up a quadpod with rope systems for a high anchor point above the opening while City fire fighters assisted with additional rope work for the hauling and lowering of the rescuer and patients. Both patients were in critical condition and taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital.
“I am proud of our fire fighters who took control of the situation to ensure everyone involved were safe. Throughout the rescue, it was the contractor who ensured fresh air which maintained the survival oxygen level. I commend all on scene for their teamwork and dedication which ensure a successful rescue,” said Alderman Smith.