Child dies after fall at mall

2008-12-17 00:00

Parents should take the death of six-year-old Tyreek Peters, who fell from the food court level of the uMhlanga’s Gateway Mall late on Tuesday afternoon, as a reminder to keep an eye on their children at all times during the festive season shopping frenzy.

Adrian Raw, general manger at Gateway, Chris Botha, Netcare 911’s spokesman, and SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Jay Naicker all warned that children could get into trouble the moment parents or child minders turned their backs.

“Kids don’t have a sense of fear. They are not aware of danger. Something like this can happen in the blink of an eye,” Botha said.

The little boy had apparently gone to buy movie tickets with a cousin at the time of the accident. His parents were elsewhere in the mall.

Raw said he watched CCTV coverage of the incident about 10 times yesterday morning. It appeared that the boy tried to climb on to the escalator hand rail and was catapulted over the edge when he put his leg over the moving belt. He fell to the level below.

Raw said the incident happened in a split second and even the passer-by who had tried to grab the child was too late.

“Obviously during this time, there is a huge focus on security and safety is a big concern. [We couldn’t anticipate this], it was a freak accident,” he said.

Botha said the child suffered major head and internal injuries. Paramedics managed to resuscitate him and tried to stabilise him before rushing him to the trauma unit at the neighbouring uMhlanga hospital. However, he died about an hour later.

Raw arrived on the scene at the same time as the paramedics who took just five minutes to dash from the hospital. He said it was shocking for everyone concerned, even more so for the boy’s mother, who arrived to find her son badly injured.

Raw said that the staff and management of Gateway wished to convey their condolences to the boy’s parents and family.

An inquest docket has been opened.

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