Schoemanskloof - World Cup fans planning on taking a trip to Mpumalanga will now have the assistance of an emergency and accident response helicopter service on the N4 toll road.
Trans African Concessions (Trac), which operates the toll road from Gauteng to Maputo, will run the service for the duration of the peak period during the World Cup.
"All our efforts in support of the World Cup are aimed at providing the safest route possible and a comfortable travelling experience," said Trac CEO Arthur Coy.
The helicopter will have an advanced life-support medic on board, who will be dropped at accident scenes to stabilise patients in the critical first hour after injury.
"We will not be transferring patients but stabilising them until the ground support crew can take over," said pilot Neels van Eijk.
The helicopter, which will be stationed variously in Nelspruit and at the Middelburg and Machado toll plazas, will provide both accident and patrol services and be in constant contact with TracAssist vehicles on the ground. It can fly for up to three hours at a time, and several fuel points along the N4 will ensure it can be in the air almost constantly. Its small size allows for landing in confined spaces.
"It plays a security role as well," said Van Eijk. "When we used it over the Easter weekend, we prevented a mother with 11-month-old twins from being hijacked near Witbank. She managed to call the TracAssist emergency number and we arrived almost immediately, after which the hijackers fled."
The TracAssist number is 0800 8722 64 (0800 Trac N4).