Schoolgirl fights off beachfront attackers

Marine Drive, Port Elizabeth
Picture: Google Maps

A teenage schoolgirl who went for a walk on the Summerstrand beachfront to clear her head before an exam was abducted and assaulted by two men who attempted to rape her yesterday.

The 15-year-old Pearson High School pupil managed to fight off her two attackers and escape, but was left highly traumatised and severely bruised and scratched following her ordeal.

The attack took place shortly before 8am when the girl, who had been dropped off at school by her father just after 7am, went for a walk on the Marine Drive beachfront prior to writing a history exam.

The details are still sketchy as the pupil, whose identity is being protected, was so distraught.

She was taken to St George’s Hospital for treatment.

After the girl made a panicked phone call to her parents at about 9am, police and security officials launched a manhunt along the beachfront for the two attackers.

The police helicopter, K9 unit, Metro Police and traffic officials combed the secluded, bushy area opposite the Summerstrand Inn, a braai area, searching for clues.

Police spokesman Captain Johan Rheeder said a case of attempted rape and abduction had been opened.

“Details are sketchy as the girl is highly emotional and traumatised,” he said.

“She says she was sitting near the Beacon [between The Pipe car park and Admiralty Way turn-off] when two men abducted her and forced her into the bakkie.

“She was then driven to the nearby area known as the braai area, where the men attempted to rape her in the bushes.

“During a fight, she managed to escape.”

Atlas security manager Monty Montgomery, who was on the scene and is friends with the girl’s family, said the teenager was very distressed and emotional, making it difficult to get exact details.

“She managed to make a phone call to her mother straight after escaping,” he said.

“Her mother then alerted me and the police.

“We all rushed down to the area. but the two men had fled.

“From what we understand, she was grabbed and pulled towards a white bakkie with a type of box fitted to the back of it.

“She was then pushed into the box on the back of the bakkie and the men drove off with her.”

Montgomery said the bakkie had then stopped about 200m past the Admiralty Way turn-off, in the bushes, where the pupil was taken out of the vehicle.

“She was dragged into the bushes, where the struggle continued.

“However, the girl managed to break free and run towards the walkway area,” he said.

The girl, who was crying and calling for help, was assisted by a bush dweller, who wanted to be identified only as “Chris”.

“She was crying and running towards me. She was asking for help,” Chris said.

“I could see she was traumatised.

“She had cuts all over her face and parts of her dress and stockings were ripped.

“I helped her onto the walkway and, by that stage, she was phoning someone on her cellphone and crying.”

Chris escorted the teenager to the nearby Total service station in Admiralty Way to get assistance.

Service station manager Ulina van Niekerk said: “She was very traumatised and in shock.

“Before I could even call the police or her parents, the mother arrived. The ambulances arrived a short while later.

“She had scratches all over her face and legs.

“Her arm was also very bruised and inflamed.

“As soon as she got into the ambulance, she collapsed.”

Van Niekerk said the girl’s mother had tried to get information from her daughter to assist the police.

“She [teenager] was very confused and people were trying to get more details from her, but she was really in such a state.”

The attack is believed to have taken place at about 7.30am.

The girl’s father, who is also not being named to protect her identity, said he had dropped her at school shortly after 7am.

“She then decided to walk down to the beachfront to clear her head before the exam,” he said.

“She is very shaken up and the whole family is traumatised from this.

“The last thing one would expect is for your daughter to be attacked and abducted on the beachfront, never mind [that it occurred] after dropping her off at school.”

The girl was discharged from hospital by 2pm.

Rheeder said: “At this stage, detectives are still trying to obtain more information about the attack.”

Pearson High acting principal Hela Roux said they were aware of the “unfortunate incident” and were most disturbed that this could happen to a pupil.

“The incident did not take place on the school campus and occurred before the start of school.

“It did not take place in the vicinity of the school,” she said.

“The parents and police are handling the matter and we are awaiting further information from them.”

Roux said the Department of Education had also been informed about the incident.

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