Man saves driver's life from protesters
Motorists and pedestrians at a busy intersection in Pinetown, west of Durban, last week watched in shock when a 32-year-old safety officer steered a runaway truck away from oncoming traffic.
"It was like he was Denzel Washington or Keanu Reeves in an action movie," motorist Jeanelle Pillay said.
Mark Basson, a former fire-fighter and paramedic, had stopped at the intersection to help the driver of the truck which was being stoned by striking truck drivers. But he ended up saving not only the life of the truck driver but also of other motorists and pedestrians at the Crompton Road and Old Main Road intersection.
"I was travelling along the road with my wife in another car behind me. I immediately noticed that a Simba truck was being stoned in front of me.
"I pulled over to the side of the road and signalled to my wife to carry on so she would be out of harm's way," Basson said yesterday.
When he got to the driver's side of the truck, Basson realised that the truck driver was injured after being assaulted and stoned by the strikers.
"The truck had hit a bakkie. The driver was unconscious and I realised that his foot was still on the accelerator. I mounted to the side of the truck.
"The driver was slumped over the steering wheel, and I tried to control the vehicle.
"I realised that once the bakkie was free, the truck was going to move onto oncoming traffic. I tried to reach over to the handbrake but I could not because the driver was in the way," he said.
The runaway truck started to move towards oncoming traffic.
Hanging on the side of the truck, Basson managed to make a wide turn to take the vehicle onto a large grassy patch.
"The vehicle hit a tree and came to a stop," he said.
Basson then called emergency services while he tried to treat the driver on scene.
Basson's heroic act has made him a hero on Facebook.
The injured driver was taken to St. Augustine's Hospital.
"I learnt that his name was Mr P Govender, and I was shocked to learn that he had undergone brain surgery," he said.
Expecting the worst, Basson went into the ICU to find that Govender was wide awake. "He thanked me for saving his life."
Bosson said his instincts as a firefighter and paramedic kicked in when he climbed the vehicle.
"I didn't think twice. I would do it again. It's my passion to help in situations like these," the father of one said.