A car went airborne on the temporary Sand River Bridge last night after the driver lost control of the vehicle when it hit sand.

The car bounced back on the road and finally rolled.

The bridge over the Sand River following the floods last year

The 21 year-old student driving the Polo Player was unharmed. He and the owner of the vehicle, also a student were on holiday in St Francis. They are believed to be students in Cape Town, have family in St Francis and hail from KwaZulu Natal.

Both were not seriously harmed – just cuts and scratches, according to witnesses. The vehicle, however was a write-off and was towed away.

The accident happened at about 7.45 pm.

It is believed the driver was approaching the bridge from the Humansdorp side quite fast when he did not manoeuvre the sharp bend to the right in time. The vehicle then hit the sand bank on the edge of the river where the old bridge is, went airborne and landed on the road.

There is no proper barrier along the sides of the Sand River Bridge despite repeated calls for more safety measures (such as barriers and more signage) to be installed there.

There have been at least seven known accidents at the bridge since the previous bridge washed away and a second temporary bridge suffered the same fate in July last year. In two of the accidents the luxury 4x4s ploughed into the river – one 4×4 was worth R1-million. The drivers miraculously escaped injury – it’s believed the airbags saved them.

The Sand River Bridge was washed away twice in two weeks in July last year following heavy rainfalls and floods from storm waters. Both times St Francis residents were almost completely marooned until temporary bridges were rebuilt. The R330 road that traverses the river is the only access road to the town and village of St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis respectively.

The Provincial Department of Roads is responsible for the repair of the bridge – and not the Kouga Municipality. A new permanent bridge can only be built after an EIA is complete… and this could take many months – even a year, some speculate.

Source: St Francis Chronicle

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