13 workers hurt as storm fells wall

Sipho Masombuka and Dudu Busani

Emergency Services personnel worked around the clock yesterday after a fierce storm hit parts of Gauteng.

Although no serious incidents were reported, pouring rains around the province flooded several roads, causing traffic jams.

Spokesman for Johannesburg Emergency Services Percy Morokane said there were no major road accidents.

Emergency services around the province were put on high alert last night following predictions of further rains in the area.

In Centurion yesterday 13 construction workers were taken to a Pretoria hospital after the building they were working on collapsed due to the heavy rains.

ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said paramedics and fire fighters used rescue equipment to free the men from the rubble

"When we arrived, 13 construction workers were trapped under a partially built wall. One man was found under the rubble with severe head injuries."

He said the other 12 workers sustained moderate injuries and were also transported to hospital.

"It is understood that the men tried to take cover when the storm struck the construction site. It is believed that a strong wind blew the wall over on top of them while they were hiding behind it."

Vermaak added that during the rescue operation, paramedics learned that another construction site was damaged by the storm.

"Two men from the other site were brought to where rescue personnel were working. The two men were injured when a shop front was pulled over by the strong wind and fell on top of them. They sustained minor injuries and were also transported to hospital."

On Monday the Tshwane municipality issued a warning after receiving a wild-weather alert from the Weather Services.

Tshwane municipality spokesman Console Tleane told Sowetan: "Disaster management and fire services personnel remain on alert and ready to assist should the need arise."

Tleane has requested the public to report emergencies on 012-3106400/6300.