Nelson Mandela's Ambulance Broke Down on the Way to Hospital

PHOTO: Former South African President Nelson Mandela during the celebration of his 94th birthday in Qunu, South Africa July 18, 2012.PlaySchalk van Zuydam/AP Photo
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The ambulance carrying Nelson Mandela to the hospital two weeks ago broke down, according to the South African government and the 94-year-old was forced to wait for a second ambulance to finish the transport.

In a written statement, the Office of the Presidency said, "When the ambulance experienced engine problems it was decided that it would be best to transfer to another military ambulance which itself was accompanied for the rest of the journey by a civilian ambulance."

Mandela was rushed to the hospital in the early morning hours of June 8, after his health deteriorated rapidly from a recurring lung infection.

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Government officials insist the former president's health was not compromised while he waited for the second ambulance.

"The fully equipped military ICU ambulance had a full complement of specialist medical staff including intensive care specialists and ICU nurses," according to the written statement. "The convoy also included two quick response vehicles."

The anti-apartheid leader remains in serious, but stable condition.

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki is the latest to suggest that Mandela is getting better.

After speaking to Mandela's doctors, Mbeki told a South African radio station, "Nelson Mandela is improving in terms of his health. I don't think anyone should entertain some sort of wrong notion that Nelson Mandela is about to die tomorrow. He's not going to."

Earlier this week, Mandela's daughter Zenani Mandela-Dlamini told a crowd of reporters outside Mediclinic Heart Hospital her father "is doing very well." President Jacob Zuma has also said publicly Mandela's health is "improving."

But government officials say doctors have not indicated when Mandela may be released from the hospital.