Trapped 12 feared for their lives

Twelve snow-trapped travellers spent Thursday night fearing for their lives on a frozen mountain pass in the southern Drakensberg mountains.

A work van carrying 10 passengers and a car carrying two people got stuck on Coloanek pass after they drove south- west into heavy snowfall on the R405, which travels towards Mount Frere to the R56 Matatiele-Kokstad route.

But the road vanished under thick wads of snow.

Sinothando Mtshengu, head of disaster management in the Alfred Nzo district municipality, said: “The vehicles were trapped from around 9pm to 9am .”

“They phoned us at about 9pm saying they wouldn’t continue on the road as the conditions were terrible.”

Mtshengu said the travellers were going to turn back from the high mountainous area they were in.

“But when we went to check the road this morning, they were still there. We used a grader to clear the road in about 30 minutes. This enabled them to drive themselves out.

“Fortunately no one was harmed,” said Mtshengu.

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