Disaster teams on standby

Herald Reporter

DISASTER teams have been placed on standby as the SA Weather Service predicted heavy rains in parts of the Eastern Cape over the next 72 hours.

Spokesman Garth Sampson said storms were expected in Mthatha, Bhisho, Stutterheim and Peddie.

Three people went missing after their vehicle crashed into a river in Mount Fletcher at around 9am yesterday.

Rescue operations continued late yesterday afternoon.

Disaster management spokesman Captain John Fobian said the bad weather had hampered visibility.

He said police divers were on the scene in Mount Fletcher where three people were reported missing. One body was recovered.

The search for the other two was temporarily abandoned because it was dark and would continue this morning

In a separate incident on Wednesday, seven people had to be rescued after their 5-ton truck used to load sand landed in a river in Aliwal North at about 7pm.

They were rescued at 10am yesterday. Meanwhile on Tuesday, eight children between the ages of seven and 18 were rescued after they were swept away in the fast-flowing Tina River in Mount Fletcher.

Fobian said a helicopter could not be utilised because of the bad weather and police divers from Cradock, Mthatha and East London were dispatched.

He urged those travelling in and around the Eastern Cape to avoid low-lying areas where flooding may have occurred.

He said disaster teams were on standby following storm warnings from the weather service.

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