Route removed from Google Maps after tourists shot driving through South Africa danger routes

Route altered after British surgeon shot dead at wheel of hire car

Holly Evans
Friday 17 November 2023 13:25 GMT

Related video: Google sued for negligence after man drove off bridge

Google Maps has removed a route from its navigation system after a number of tourists came into danger while travelling towards one of South Africa’s most violent regions.

The technology giant has decided to alter its directions after a series of incidents in Nyanga, which is only a short distance from Cape Town’s international airport.

In August, a British surgeon was shot dead at the wheel of his hire car after he was re-routed by officers to avoid road closures. Kar Hao Teoh, 40, was shot in the head by a gunman while his mother, wife and son were sat in the vehicle alongside him.

An American tourist also miraculously survived being shot in the face earlier this month.

Walter Fischel, 55, had been directed towards Nyanga after he opted for the fastest route on Google Maps. By the time he realised the area was “not the greatest”, he had been caught in congestion and was targeted by four men and shot in the face.

British surgeon Kar Hao Teoh was shot dead at the wheel of his hire car

He was able to put up a fight until the gunmen stole his cash and drove away in his car. Speaking to News24 from his hospital bed, he said: “While I tried looking for help, I spat out a couple of my teeth and the bullet as well.”

Google’s South Africa director, Professor Alistair Mokoena, said that blocking Nyanga as a recommended route to avoid traffic on the main motorway was the first priority.

GPS developers including Google are facing increasing pressure to update routes, after a series of incidents where lives have been risked or lost across the globe.

Google is currently being sued by the family of a driver whose car fell off a collapsed bridge, after Maps advised him to use the route despite the bridge collapsing nine years previously.

Scottish authorities also advise hikers and tourists to use traditional maps and compasses to tackle Ben Nevis, as Google Maps may direct them towards rocky, steep terrain that could prove “potentially fatal”.

This story initially reported that new security alerts will be added for tourists to safely navigate the country but Google has clarified that is not the case

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