Technology, teamwork thwart hijackers

A combination of technology, teamwork, professionalism and pure determination ensured that a hijacked bus was safely returned to its rightful owner.

One of Volvo Bus Southern Africa’s employees was recently confronted by a gang of criminals while en route to deliver a new Volvo Bus unit to a customer in Johannesburg. While the hijackers manage to hijack the bus, the driver fortunately escaped unharmed.

The coach was reported missing at about 12:30, and team members from Volvo Bus, Volvo Group Corporate Security, as well as the appointed recovery agent immediately went into action. The alert was also posted on various crime fighting groups on social media.

In addition, members from the Benoni Community Police Forum and two security companies voluntarily assisted in the pursuit and recovery of the coach.

At about 17:00, even though the perpetrators managed to deactivate the bus’s local tracking device, experts in Sweden and South Africa managed to pinpoint the vehicle’s position through the Volvo Bus Fleet Management system. This information was passed on to Corporate Security in SA, who then tasked the local recovery agent.

The coach was pursued on narrow rural roads to the town of Thabazimbi in Limpopo, some 300 km from Johannesburg, with the perpetrators most likely aiming to get the unit out of the country as soon as possible, probably via a border post with Botswana.

During the pursuit the police from Rustenburg and Thabazimbi were contacted to assist and with the support of two reservists from Thabazimbi SAPS, four members from the Hoopdal Police Station and one rapid response vehicle from Rustenburg, authorities managed to pull the coach off at the Lephalale/ Vaalwater intersection. The coach was recovered with no serious damage and the driver arrested, just 11 hours after the vehicle was hijacked.

Paul Raley, Volvo Group’s regional security director for Sub-Saharan Africa, says: “What makes this recovery unique was that it was the first time that Volvo Group SA had a bus hijacked and also the first time that we had to use fleet management technology to assist in the recovery of a unit.”

It was also a first time that a Volvo staff member in Sweden actively assisted in recovering a vehicle in South Africa.

“Volvo Group Uptime Solutions expert Emanuel Hauptman continuously relayed the position of the coach as it was tracked from Sweden to Volvo Bus in South Africa, and we continuously communicated its progress to the involved parties as the chase unfolded,” says Raley.

Marius Botha, GM, Volvo Bus Southern Africa, says, “Even though it was an unfortunate incident, we were heartened to see that the technology inherent in every Volvo Bus unit enabled us to locate the vehicle and return it unscathed to our customer.”

Volvo Bus’s Fleet Management is a real-time online service providing detailed operational information: fuel consumption, emissions, driving profile, technical alerts and events as well as positioning data are presented in clear, concise reports.

Archive 2019

August
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