Paramedics escape gun attack in Durban unhurt

Paramedics in Durban were shot at while on duty.
Paramedics in Durban were shot at while on duty.

Two paramedics count themselves lucky for escaping a gun attack unscathed while on duty at the Durban beachfront on Friday night.

The Midlands EMS duo was driving in the vicinity of the Addington Hospital when several shots were fired at them from a flat in the area.

A shaken Cohen Landers told SowetanLIVE the incident took place at around 9.30pm when he and his crew mate decided to move from the South Beach area because it was relatively quiet.

"We normally station ourselves in visible areas so that the public can see us. It was quiet‚ so we decided to drive towards North Beach.

"As we were driving‚ I heard gunfire coming from the surrounding flats. At first I was not sure what was happening‚ until a bullet hit the windscreen just above my head."

As Landers accelerated‚ three more rounds were fired‚ narrowly missing his crew mate.

"In all‚ about four rounds were fired. We were lucky‚ they were small calibre bullets. I think we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"This isn't the first time I've had a close encounter. Three years ago‚ I was transporting a patient to hospital when a taxi drove through a red robot and slammed into the ambulance. When I jumped off to exchange details‚ he tried to run me over.

"The sad thing is that the latest incident won't be the last. Criminals have caught on that we have expensive equipment and drugs in our vehicles so we have become soft targets. But these incidents won't stop us from doing our jobs‚" Landers said.

He said paramedics "walked a fine line" when it came to balancing their safety with the lives of patients in need.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Colonel Thulani Zwane said a case of malicious damage to property was being investigated and no arrests had been made.

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