Left for dead in a crashed car in the middle of nowhere, help ‘miraculously’ arrived

When two women suffered a terrible crash on a back road in North West, help came from a very unexpected quarter.

For Linda Thompson and her friend and work colleague Thandi Mkhize, it was meant to be just another trip to a slate mine near Swartruggens in North West.

The two women were consultants on labour matters for a big producer of slate roof and floor tiling at quarries near the ‘dorp’.

Linda owned her own human resources consultancy and had joined up with Thandi a few months earlier. This Friday trip was meant to introduce her partner to the slate company, and how it dealt with labour issues.

But this drive wasn’t meant to be just about work. Sun City was about an hour’s drive from Swartruggens – so they planned to spend Friday night there for a bit of relaxation after a dusty day in the hinterlands before driving home on Saturday afternoon.

Thandi had never been to the hotel and entertainment complex before and was in the middle of a divorce, so Linda told her friend they could just let their hair down a bit and have a girls’ night out together.

But one errant goat on a particularly twisty, potholed road in North West was never part of the plan.

Linda was in a rush in her Toyota Etios, because they’d been late to start with and were then held up in the Joburg traffic.

The goat leapt out in front of the car on an especially desolate, near-abandoned old farming and mine service road a few kilometres from the main slate quarry.

Linda swerved, and the next thing everything was a noisy blur.

They later found out they had careened into a big boulder, before rolling into the bushes, where the car finally came to a smoking halt far from the roadside, inside an eroded old trench.

Disoriented and dizzy, in pain and hanging upside down in the driver’s seat, with an awful feeling of wetness down the side of her face, Linda was able to get a look at her friend Thandi, who was now lying quietly on what was left of the crushed Etios’ roof.

What Linda didn’t know was that her car was now completely hidden from the roadside, and no one had seen the accident taking place. All the same, she had a terrible feeling of trapped hopelessness.

Oh, no, thought Linda. Help us. She remembered her phone had been on the car’s dashboard. Where was it now?

Then she passed out.

Her memories beyond that point are hazy; she just recalls the noise of voices, flashes of light, and then noticing paramedic uniforms. She remembers the sound of a helicopter and a feeling of reassurance amid the dizziness that she would be okay.

When she woke up in hospital, it was like a miracle.

But how?

She caught the attention of a nurse, and then a flood of relief overcame her as her husband’s face appeared in the doorway and he came in with her 10-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.

They all looked deeply concerned, but relieved.

“Thandi?” was the first thing Linda asked.

“She’s okay,” her husband told her. “A few broken bones, but she’s going to be fine. You were very, very lucky the ambulance got to you so quickly.”

Then Linda’s sister Debbie came in, and finally Linda understood how they’d been saved.

“Remember that day a few months ago when I installed that app on your phone?” Debbie told her.

Linda could only shrug. She had only a vague recollection of that.

“Well, it was running in the background of your phone this whole time. It detected that you were in a crash and called for help.”

“No … way…”

Debbie offered her a little smile and nodded.

What Linda later learnt was that her little sister had signed her up as one of the people on Debbie’s insurance benefits when Debbie became a 1st For Women client.

Debbie made sure she installed the app on the phones of five of her family members, including big sister Linda, who had always been the one looking out for Debbie when they were growing up.

But it turned out to be Debbie’s turn to return the favour.

So without Linda even thinking about it, the app had been able to automatically detect that somethingdreadful had happened to Linda and Thandi out there in the middle of nowhere, and it was able to call for help when she could not.

With a grateful laugh, Debbie told Linda: “You had a Guardian Angel this whole time, and didn’t even realise it.”

Brought to you by1st for Women

Story for illustrative purposes.

All it takes is one app to have safety, convenience, peace of mind and emergency services at your fingertips. When you get comprehensive car cover with 1st for Women, you’ll get the Guardian Angel on Call benefit as standard on our app. This mobile crash detector sends help when you’re in an accident, in any vehicle. Plus, you can use, and share it with up to five of your family or household members.

Simply input your details into the app, such as medical aid information and any conditions or allergies. Then add five loved ones who you want to benefit from your policy, so that they too can use the Guardian Angel on Call benefit, and allow the app to access your location. It’s as easy as that.

Guardian Angel on Call starts working from the minute you start driving, and can detect if you’re involved in an accident. If a severe accident renders you or your loved ones incapacitated or unconscious, your Guardian Angel will still automatically send emergency medical assistance directly to your location.

First for Women Insurance Company Limited is an authorised financial services provider (FSP licence number: 15261). Terms & Conditions apply.

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