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Gavin Black
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Midmar Mile Drowning: The Missing Body

11 February 2014, 18:00
Just a thought about the tragic drowning that occurred at the latest Midmar Mile Race swim challenge, that is held annually outside Pietermaritzburg, KZN, this past weekend.

I read that the race organisers were notified that an entrant was missing, presumed drowned, during the Saturday afternoon competitions?

However, they (the organisers) would not believe or take seriously the info from his fiance that her partner was missing, for quite some time, even though she pleaded with the officials that she had seen him start the race but not come out the water at the end of his event.

During this next 48 hours period, the days' races and Sundays & Mondays  races were allowed to go continue and go ahead despite this tragedy, and the obvious conclusion/ fact that there was now a dead body floating somewhere in the dam where the races are held.

The questions that I cannot get my head around is:
Why were the the races allowed to continue until a proper search was conducted? or was this done in between races/ challenges? 
My understanding is that proper SAPS rescue search was only able to start Monday afternoon at the conclusion of all swimming competition events?

If i knew there was a dead body floating in that dam somewhere, I sure as hell would not want either myself or a young child to be in that water - swimming a race - and suddenly embrace a drowned body. That is quite traumatic and pretty horrible to deal with at any age, and the nightmares and and sleepless nights to follow are unimaginable.

All I can think of is the family and friends of the deceased having to see all this going on over the next 48 hours, and no specialised search for their loved oneis attempted until after the races were completed? Was this decision made in consultation with them and with their blessing.

In my opinion it is just WRONG! There is a dead human body out there. Missing.

Can you imagine an F1 motor GP race continuing on even a yellow flag while they are retrieving the dead body of a crash victim on the circuit, from his/ her car wreck. It is not done from a safety and sensibility point of view.

The Midmar races should have been at least stopped and possibly even cancelled, based on the fact the body was still somewhere in the swimming course area... or has commercialism and sponsor money become far more important today that over-rules compassion and common sense?

I realise that with thousands of entrants entering this historic annual swim event, it is very difficult to make tough and far reaching decisions such as cancelling or postponing the races.

Or have I got this all wrong and it did not happen as I describe, and we are still a caring, concerned society?
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