Woman rescued from 7m drain

IN PAIN: Desiree Ruiters, 30, is rescued after falling into a stormwater drain. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA
IN PAIN: Desiree Ruiters, 30, is rescued after falling into a stormwater drain. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA

EMERGENCY workers spent two hours rescuing a Port Elizabeth woman after she fell down a 7m stormwater drain along the N2 near Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth, yesterday.

Desiree Ruiters, 30, from Kuyga, was trapped in the drain from about 6am when farm labourer John Limba, 32 – who was walking to work – heard cries for help.

“I heard someone screaming ‘help me, help me’. I went closer and the sun was just coming up, so I saw the hole. I looked down and a woman was stuck. She said she could not move,” Limba said. “I ran across the N2 and called the farmer I work for.”

Miniature horse breeder Harry Smit said he and Limba ran across the road.

“I grabbed a rope and bottle of water and went with Limba to see what was happening. I thought I must first see what the problem was before calling for assistance,” he said.

“I found her screaming. I alerted the fire department and, while waiting, managed to lower some water down the hole with a rope.”

Smit said Ruiters had told him she had crossed the N2 to get to work when she fell down the drain.

Emergency rescue officials from the fire department and metro ambulance arrived on the scene a short while later.

Two senior firefighters went down the stormwater drain where they managed to stabilise Ruiters.

“She was complaining about pain in her pelvis area and her back. The two officials in the drain managed to stabilise her before we lowered a harness and back board,” one of the emergency services officials, who declined to be named, said.

“A while later we managed to hoist her up to safety where medics took over.”

A medical official on the scene said Ruiters had no feeling in her legs.

“We suspect she might have shattered her pelvis and injured her neck during the fall,” he said. “She is in a stable condition but in severe pain.”

Ruiters was taken to Livingstone Hospital where she was due to have X-rays done.

Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg confirmed that police were dispatched to the scene. – Gareth Wilson

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