UPDATE: The hostage taker was shot and killed after about 4 hours of unsuccessful negotiations. Here is the latest press release from police. It was sent out at 2:51pm.
Hostage negotiators attempted for four hours, from 08:00 until noon, to persuade the hostage taker to release the hostage. After taking an emergency head-count, hospital management established that only one woman employee was unaccounted for and correctly concluded that only one woman was being held hostage. It was determined that the hostage had been shot and that her condition was deteriorating. Breaching the kitchen was the only viable option left to save the life of the hostage. The Hostage Rescue Team stormed the room and the suspect was shot and fatally wounded. The highly traumatised and wounded victim was rescued and given medical attention.
This morning, at the Westville Hospital in Durban, a hostage situation developed. Below is the SA police press statement on the incident, sent at 10:53am.
MEDIA STATEMENT FROM THE KWAZULU-NATAL MEDIA CENTRE
SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE
DATE : 27 April 2012
SUBJECT : HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES TAKEN HOSTAGE, POLICE BUSY NEGOTIATING WITH HOSTAGE TAKER
It is alleged that a thirty year old man hijacked a taxi this morning in Marianhill and forced the driver to drive him to the Westville Hospital. At approximately 07:40, the suspect demanded to see a doctor or nurse and became impatient and began firing shots randomly. The hospital staff, patients and visitors panicked and scrambled to safety in all directions. In the ensuing pandemonium, three people sustained slight injuries believed to be from shrapnel flying off the concrete walls and floor when they were struck by the bullets.
The suspect took two women, who are kitchen staff, as hostages and is holding them in one of the rooms on the first floor of the hospital. A contingent of police, including the National Intervention Unit (NIU), Special Task Force and SAPS hostage negotiators are presently at the scene trying to diffuse the situation and secure the safe release of the hostages.
Further updates will follow in due course.