n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Flood hydrology of the Storms River tubing accident : technical paper

Volume 44, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1021-2019



In March 2000, 13 people died in a tubing accident on the Storms River. The reasons given in the media for the accident were 'freak flood' and 'flash flood in side kloof', which were considered to be acts of God. A study of the hydrology of this river and the surrounding rivers found this to be untrue. The rainfall records indicated significant widespread rainfall over the whole Tsitsikamma area during the accident period. The historic rainfall records indicated that rainfall of the magnitude experienced over the accident period had a recurrence interval of three times a year on average. The water level records from three nearby gauging stations showed a good correlation between them and are a good indication of the water level in the Storms River during the accident period. The historic records of these gauges indicated a flood of the magnitude experienced during the accident was likely to occur two to three times a year on average. An understanding of the hydrology of the river may have resulted in the river guides making a different choice when confronted with the flood in the major tributary, saving many lives.

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