/ 23 November 2007

‘Acts of God’ kill three in Johannesburg

Three people died and a number were injured during a fierce storm in Johannesburg on Thursday, paramedics and emergency officials said.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman said a young man was killed and two people injured by a large tree that fell over in Perth Road in Auckland Park during the storm.

The male driver of a white car was crushed to death when the enormous tree toppled on to his car late on Thursday afternoon.

A woman passenger in the car was seriously injured and another person escaped with minor injuries.

Johannesburg City Parks spokesperson Jenny Moodley said on Thursday that officials were busy cutting up the tree and removing it from the scene.

She said this was the second incident City Parks had dealt with recently in which a person was killed by a tree during a storm.

Recently, a man died in Lenasia after seeking shelter from a storm under a tree.

”These are acts of God and we ask residents … during raining (sic) weather to refrain from taking shelter under trees,” said Moodley.

Also on Thursday afternoon, a woman was struck by lightning after leaving her workplace in Randfontein at about 4.14pm.

”Our paramedics declared her dead on the scene,” said Dollman.

A woman pedestrian was struck by lightning while on her way home in Northcliff around 5pm. Dollman said she was also declared dead on the scene by paramedics.

A cyclist on Maxwell Drive in Woodmead was seriously injured after he was knocked down during the storm. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition with serious head and chest injuries.

A 23-year-old man was struck by lightning as he was closing the gate at his workplace near Gold Reef City. He was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Netcare 911 said its call centre received reports of 18 motor vehicle and four pedestrian accidents between 3.30pm and 7pm on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, a ten-year-old boy was apparently killed by lightning outside Lichtenburg in the North West, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported. – Sapa