Gun accident kills girl

2013-07-05 00:00

“AM I dying?”

That was 15-year-old Stephanie van den Berg’s heartbreaking question to her father after a gun accident at their home in Delareyville, North West.

She shot herself by accident with a 300 Winchester Magnum hunting rifle that she was cleaning on Wednesday.

Her father, Jaco, said yesterday he saw that the wound in his daughter’s stomach was so serious that she would not survive. He answered her honestly: “We all have to die”.

He kept talking to her, telling her he loved her. Stephanie told her father she loved him.

Her brother, Philip (16), held a pressure bandage on the wound and told his sister to “vasbyt”.

But by the time an ambulance arrived, it was too late.

Jaco said he didn’t understand how the accident happened, because Stephanie was a good hunter who had shot and handled weapons since her primary school days.

It happened as Stephanie was supposed to be cleaning the guns after a hunting trip with her father, who left the children at home while he went to their farm outside the town.

Philip heard a shot and rushed to the kitchen, to find his sister gravely wounded. He phoned the mother of a friend, a physiotherapist, and his father. Two local doctors who were called could not insert a drip, because Stephanie’s veins had collapsed from blood loss.

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