Child (7) dies in Christmas Day Midmar drowning

2007-12-27 00:00

A policeman’s peaceful Christmas family outing turned into tragedy when his seven-year-old son drowned while swimming in Midmar Dam on Tuesday morning.

Manqoba Mabaso was the youngest of Inspector O.T. Mabaso’s three children. Mabaso is stationed at Alexandra Police Station in Pietermaritzburg.

"The Mabaso family were enjoying Christmas Day at the dam and were at the Eikedal picnic site when their three children Sanele (11), Ntuthuko (9) and Manqoba (7) went for a swim. All three children got into difficulties when they moved into deeper water," said Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesman Jeff Gaisford.

Another group of visitors, picnicking nearby, realised that the children were in trouble. Douglas Eaglestone of the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate and A.C. Blake from Correctional Services rushed into the water. They managed to pull Sanele and Ntuthuko out and resuscitate them but by then the seven-year-old Manqoba had disappeared.

Inspector Jack Haskins of the SAPS K9 Search and Rescue Unit and Inspector Ian Cowley of the SAPS Diving Unit from Mountain Rise were called in.

Cowley recovered the child’s body at about 12.30 pm some 15 metres from the shore in about two metres of water. The Mabaso family, who live in Howick, were too distraught to comment yesterday.

At least eight people have drowned on the KZN coast since December 16, according to Netcare 911.

Yesterday, Netcare 911 paramedics and members of the K9 Search and Rescue team battled in vain for over an hour to resuscitate a 44-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest while swimming near uShaka pier in Durban.

A 16-year-old boy was taken to St Augustine’s Hospital yesterday afternoon after being rescued from the sea and receiving treatment on the same beach. He is said to be in a serious condition.

Umfolozi police also reported that a 14-year-old boy died shortly after being pulled out from the sea at St Lucia beach on the north coast on Friday. The teenager was holidaying with his mother’s employer from Gauteng, said police spokesman Captain Jabulani Mdletshe.

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