PORT SHEPSTONE - Two robbers were shot dead and a third wounded in KwaZulu-Natal's South Coast during a dramatic cash heist yesterday.
Police and paramedics have confirmed that a police officer and a police dog were also wounded in the crossfire while two security guards have been confirmed dead.
Police spokesman Superintendent Zandra Hechter said it was one of the biggest cases they had ever seen.
"A pension payout was taking place in Hibberdene when occupants from a double cab jumped out and opened fire," said Hechter.
Two security guards were shot.
Hechter, who was standing at the crime scene, said: "One guard died at the scene and the wounded guard has just been confirmed dead."
The gang took a substantial amount of money and fled in the double-cab and minibus.
"They proceeded towards Port Shepstone and were chased by police. They opened fire on the officers and the police returned fire," Hechter said
While still in pursuit of the robbers, near the Umtentweni area, a policeman was shot in the shoulder and a police dog was shot in the head.
More police vehicles from Margate, Port Shepstone, Umkomaas, South Port and Hibberdene continued to chase the men.
"Police continued firing and the wheels of the gang's vehicle were shot, bringing the minibus to a halt," said Hechter.
"The suspects ran down an embankment and on to the Old Main Road in Port Shepstone in front of cars," she said.
The robbers tried to hijack a Mercedes Benz driver, but could not open the door of the car.
Hechter said: "Police began a foot chase and when the robbers saw them, they fled from the Mercedes and ran on to the beach."
Two robbers were shot and killed and a third was wounded. One was arrested at a golf course and another was arrested near a bushy area on the beach with the stolen money. Police are trying to trace a fifth man.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said an entire unit of paramedics were standing by on the scene to treat the injured patients.
"This was an excellent team effort," Hechter said. - Sapa