The twin bridges over Tzaneen dam on the R71 claimed another life this past week. An unidentified woman jumped over the rails of one of the bridges on Saturday morning, the 18th of February.

In March 2021 a man in his early thirties jumped from the same bridge.

Unlike this latest victim who’s body was retrieved a few hours after she jumped, the man’s body disappeared beneath the cold and murky water. Rescuers only retrieved the man’s body two days later.

According to Deon van Tonder, a paramedic from Evac911 Ambulance Dispatching Service, they were dispatched after receiving a distress call from the farming community nearby. A farm employee witnessed the unfortunate incident and notified his employer who then called Evac911.

The paramedics were first on the scene, but unfortunately there was nothing they could do to save the woman’s life. Van Tonder said that upon arriving, he immediately contacted the SAPS in Tzaneen who dispatched a Search and Rescue member. The search and rescue team had to wait for about an hour for a boat to arrive, which was organised by Van Tonder, before the victim could be retrieved from the water.

Just like the incident in 2021, it did not take long for curious onlookers to crowd the bridge to catch a glimpse of what was happening. There were traffic officers to control traffic, but nothing was done to prevent onlookers from stopping their vehicles on the bridge in contravention of the road safety regulations.

At the time of going to print the identity of the deceased woman had not been made public and the unfortunate circumstances that led to her deciding to end her life, is still unclear.

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