Fun-filled day at Umdloti beach ends in tragedy

2012-10-01 00:00

IT was meant to be a fun-filled day with family, but it turned into a nightmare when a teenager, Nonzuzo Madladla (16). of Inanda, drowned at Umdloti beach on Saturday.

Speaking to The Witness, Nonzuzo’s uncle, Zamokunye Magwaza (42), said he had wanted to spoil his family after the schools closed on Friday and he took them to the beach.

“Schools are closed and I wanted to take Nonzuzo and her cousins out on a beach because I knew they’d enjoy it.”

He said there were about 20 children from three families, and friends.

When they arrived at the beach at about 11.30 am, they were warned by lifeguards that where they were having their picnic was not safe to swim.

So they didn’t go near the water. They simply played ball at a field near the beach.

But Nonzuzo and her cousins decided to take a walk to another part of the beach where it was thought to be safe to swim, about a kilometre away, and without informing the adults.

“We gave them an instruction not to go where we won’t be able to see them.”

But after about 15 minutes the children were out of the adults’ sight and Magwaza went to look for them.

“While I was walking, I was greeted by kids saying Nonzuzo was drowning.”

He said her cousin had tried to save her, but failed.

He said when he got to the scene, Nonzuzo was not breathing and lifeguards were performing cardio­pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Craig Lambinon, a Sea Rescue spokesperson, said it was believed that Nonzuzo was caught in rip-currents, which might have caused her to get into difficulty.

Netcare spokesperson Chris Botha said: “Lifeguards raced to her assistance and managed to pull the girl to the beach. She had stopped breathing and they immediately started CPR.

“The paramedics arrived at the scene and found the child to be in a critical condition. The advanced life support paramedic placed her on a ventilator and continued with advanced life support resuscitation for nearly an hour.

“Despite all this, she could not make it. She died on the scene.”

Magwaza said the incident happened when they were about to pack up and leave for home.

He told The Witness that Nonzuzo did not know how to swim.

“It’s hard for the family, but we have to accept that it was an accident. It’s a God thing and was beyond everyone’s control. It could have happened to anyone.”

Magwaza said Nonzuzo was a good girl, who was well behaved and respectful.

The Grade 10 pupil, of Mandosi Combined School, had wanted to become a teacher.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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