Questions about safety after teenager drowns in ‘murky’ Alexandra pool

2008-12-21 00:00

A fun holiday break turned to tragedy for the Nkone family of uMzimkhulu after their 16-year-old son Siyabulela Nkone drowned at Alexandra pool on Saturday.

Siyabulela, who was visiting his aunt in the city, was hauled out of the swimming pool by other swimmers, who noticed his lifeless body floating in the water. He was declared dead on the scene.

Siyabulela, his sister Boniswa Maduna (15) and their cousin had gone to the pool to cool off.

Boniswa told The Witness that although Siyabulela was a good swimmer, he said he did not want to swim and so sat at the side.

She said she did not know how he ended up in the water.

“We left him by the main pool and went for a swim in another pool. While we were swimming, my cousin noticed a lot of people had gathered around the main pool. She went to investigate and discovered that Siyabulela had been pulled out of the pool,” said Boniswa.

Police said their investigations revealed that Siyabulela dived into the deep end of the pool. A short while later, other swimmers noticed him floating on the surface. Efforts to resuscitate the boy were in vain.

Swimmers (who wished to remain anonymous) said the pool was not in a good state for swimming.

“The pool is actually green and that makes it hard to see anything on the bottom,” said one.

According to sources, public swimming pools are not allowed to be opened if the water is green. This is because if someone gets into difficulties, it is hard to spot them in the murky water.

However, the greatest concern is the lack of lifeguards at pools run by the Msunduzi Municipality, said one source. It is believed there were over 500 people at the pool on Saturday, with just one lifeguard to control and watch the swimmers.

The municipality, whose responsibility it is to maintain and monitor the pool, said they are waiting for a report on the incident to decide what they would do.

Acting municipal manager Roy Bridgemohan said the incident was a tragedy and the municipality will look at ways of preventing future occurrences.

“We understand that a lot of people use the pool area. The improvement actions we take will depend on the conclusions of our investigations.”

This was not the only drowning in the province this weekend. On Friday night, two incidents were reported. In the Queensburgh caravan park, a 35-year-old man drowned in a swimming pool. In Tinley manor, a 55-year-old man drowned in a tidal pool.

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