Almost 40 drownings reported during Limpopo rainy season

Almost 40 drownings reported during Limpopo rainy season

Since the start of the rainy season in November last year, Limpopo police have reported the deaths of at least 39 people due to drowning, a figure they say is concerning.

Acting provincial commissioner Major General Jan Scheepers has appealed to parents, guardians and communities to protect children, be vigilant and exercise extreme caution, Lowvelder reports.

Scheepers said of the 39 deaths, 15 were children, who drowned under various circumstances.

“Some drowned when their vehicles were swept away by the strong waters after the drivers had attempted to cross the flooded low bridges. Others, especially children, drowned while swimming,” he said.

The most recent incident saw 12-year-old Thabang Mogofe drown in a quarry last Sunday in Praktiseer.

The quarry had allegedly been dug up by people mining soil and rocks. His body was retrieved the following Monday at a depth of five metres by police divers.

On Saturday, a 10-year-old boy drowned while swimming with his friends in Ntsima village in Mankweng. Despite the incident taking place in the afternoon, it was only reported to police that evening.

The boy’s body was later retrieved by divers from a depth of three metres, Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafelo Mojapelo told Lowvelder.

“As a community, we can turn the situation around and stop these drownings by knowing where our children are playing, educating them not to swim in hazardous waters and exercising extreme caution when walking or driving in flooded areas,” said Scheepers.

“I also want to take this moment to commend the members of the search-and-rescue unit who spend sleepless nights and days conducting various missions in rivers, dams, mountains, manholes, pit toilets, streams and veld,” he added.

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