Mandela ambulance to hospital broke down

Published June 22, 2013

| AFP

The ambulance that rushed Nelson Mandela to hospital two weeks ago broke down and another had to be called, but the mishap did not endanger the anti-apartheid hero, the South African presidency said on Saturday.

"All care was taken to ensure that the former president's medical condition was not compromised by the unforeseen incident," presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP.

The ambulance had engine trouble on its way from the 94-year-old Mandela's Johannesburg home to a specialist heart clinic in Pretoria, some 55 kilometres (30 miles) away.

Doctors are "satisfied" that Mandela, who is battling a serious lung infection, suffered no harm during the wait for a replacement ambulance, Maharaj said.

Maharaj said the "fully equipped ICU (intensive care unit) ambulance" had a "full complement including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses".

Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president in 1994, was taken to hospital in the early hours of June 8. Officials have described his condition as serious, but say he is improving.

Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded Mandela as president in 1999 for two terms, said Thursday that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is not going to "die tomorrow" despite a growing acceptance among South Africans of his mortality.

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