05 Aug 2016

Volunteers kit up to join the search for Brenda Lynn Scriven at Durban's Blue Lagoon. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Durban - More than 120 people had signed up by 9.20am on Thursday to join the search for missing Durban woman, Brenda Lynn Scriven. Young and old, men and women, some with kayaks, gathered near the uMngeni River mouth to begin combing the waters and both river banks for signs of her. A police helicopter flew overhead, while volunteers were formed into groups of five to continue the search for the Sunningdale resident, who went missing in Glen Anil Street, in the storm on Monday evening. Two drones and a man on a Jet Ski also took part in the search. Among those signing up to help was North Beach resident Bev Hogan, 64. She said Scriven was a close friend of hers and that they had worked together at Standard Bank for 20 years. Martin Heaton, one of the search co-ordinators, and close family said they were overwhelmed by the support. Scriven’s daughter, Lindi Scriven Swales, said they had received amazing support since the ordeal began. “People even dropped off packets of food for the rescue teams,” she said adding the search and rescue teams were going beyond the call of duty. Les Coetzee, owner of Airworx, Ballito, said he had offered his drones to hover and would be carefully monitoring visuals. Scriven, 62, had been driving home from work when she went missing. Stacey Cruickshanks, co-ordinator of the Searching for Brenda Facebook group, said the group had been started to co-ordinate search efforts. “We are asking for as many people as we can to help search the uMngeni River bank,” she said. Also still missing is Musawenkosi Mnchunu, swept away by a river in uMlazi on Monday. A search and rescue team accompanied by police and sniffer dogs resumed the search on Wednesday. Mchunu’s fiancé, Fikile Mntaka, who has been camping near the river, said she was beginning to lose hope. “They tried to go into the river, but ended up leaving when they could not find him. This is very difficult, it would be better if they could find him so I can make peace (with what had happened),” said Mntaka. Mchunu was swept away by the river while trying to rescue a 16-year-old boy. The boy survived and is in hospital. Flood-related incidents have now claimed at least five lives in the greater Durban area: two people died in a Mayville mudslide; a man died when a wall collapsed in uMlazi; and a Chatsworth woman died when she was swept away from her car by a swollen stream. And Wednesday morning, a municipal worker clearing puddles was struck by a lorry in Umhlatuzana Road, Clairwood. He died. Rescue Care spokesman, Garrith Jamieson, said the man had been working in a cordoned-off area. “Paramedics assessed the man, who was in his forties, and found that he had sustained multiple injuries and had unfortunately passed away.” The truck drove off. The municipality and the KwaZulu-Natal government on Wednesday toured the city to assess flood damage and meet families who had lost loved ones and property. eThekwini communications head, Tozi Mthethwa, said a disaster operations centre had been established to monitor emergency responses and incidents. MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nomusa Dube-Ncube, praised disaster management teams for their “sterling work”. Department of Transport spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said the department was assessing damage to roads and a report would be completed on Thursday on which roads needed urgent attention. Gift of the Givers’s KZN operations manager, Salim Sayed, said they had been helping families in Ottawa and Shallcross. Needy residents had been given food parcels, blankets and warm clothing. Sayed said they would continue to help as long as possible. The Al Imdaad Foundation’s head of co-ordination, disaster response and poverty eradication, Abed Karrim, said they had gone to uMlazi and an informal settlement in Isipingo to help relief efforts. Karrim said the organisation had provided blankets, mattresses and hygiene packs to people in uMlazi and Isipingo. (courtesy of IOL)
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