Body floats past wedding party
Jacques Steenkamp, Beeld
Pretoria - As a couple happily posed for wedding photographs next to the Vaal River on Saturday, shocked wedding guests spotted a body drifting in the river behind them.
The 105 guests of the bridal couple, Annelize Rostron, 26, and her husband Sheldon, 26, were waiting at the reception area at the Vaal de Sioleh resort at 17:00 while the couple were posing for photographs on the river bank.
"We were still smiling sweetly (at the photographer) when we suddenly heard the bridesmaids screaming," said Annelize.
The guests all ran to the river bank and saw the badly decomposed body.
"The body floated very quickly past us and there was an emergency worker in a canoe behind it. The body looked like a doll to me," she said.
The body was that of Marie Goosen, 67, who drowned last Monday. She was pruning a tree on the river bank in front of her house at Villa Jumanji in Parys when she presumably slipped and fell in the water. Her green pruning shears were found on the river bank, near sliding marks on the ground.
Vaal de Sioleh is about 16km outside the town.
Goosen's husband, Gert, left home at about 16:00 and when he got back at about 18:00, she was gone.
Several rescue workers and police divers from the area were looking for Goosen in the river.
Police spokesperson Maselela Langa said people next to the river had let Parys police know on Saturday afternoon that the body was seen about 8km down the river from Goosen's house.
When they arrived, the body had floated about 8km further down, and they went into the water with a canoe and rubber duck, reported Tom de Wet.
Body drifted 20km
Her body was finally retrieved from the river at about 18:00, about 20km from her home, close to the hills in the Vredefort region.
Her son Johan Claassen, 48, a pharmacist in Parys, said his mother was discharged from hospital about two weeks ago after surgery to repair damage from a previous operation.
"Four years ago, a dentist broke off a drill bit in her jaw during an operation and it caused nerve damage.
"After the recent operation she was able to eat properly for the first time in years."
Goosen is also survived by a daughter, Zita de Lange, 40, and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday.