Visiting rugby coach drowns in pool at Maritzburg College

2009-04-05 00:00

The Skonk Nicholson Rugby Festival hosted by Maritzburg College this weekend was marred by tragedy when a teacher and rugby coach from St Benedict’s school in Johannesburg drowned in the school pool early yesterday morning after a function at the school.

According to Graham Bennetts, Maritzburg College marketing manager, the incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday morning after an official function on the rugby field.

He said a group of St Benedict’s College coaching staff were returning to their accommodation in the boarding establishment late at night when they decided to go for a swim.

They dived into the pool, however, the teacher did not emerge, and a colleague jumped in to pull him out.

He was declared dead on the scene. The name of the teacher cannot yet be published as police were waiting for his family to arrive yesterday, to identify him.

Bennetts said: “It is suspected that he might have suffered a head injury before or after he had entered the pool, which resulted in his death”.

The Maritzburg College headmaster, Ron Jury, described the incident as a tragedy, and sent his condolences to the family of the deceased. “This is devastating news. We send our heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Jury also said he has been in contact with his colleagues at St Benedict’s, the teams and the staff, and they have decided to continue with the tournament.

The principal of St Benedict’s College, Andre Oosthuizen, said that although he was not present when the incident happened, he heard that the teachers had been drinking when it happened.

He described the deceased, who worked as an intern at the school, as an exceptional young man who was passionate about the education of young boys.

“His death is devastating to the school because he was a committed educator who was passionate about the education of boys.”

The incident was confirmed by police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram.

He confirmed that in the early hours of yesterday morning they received a report that a 25-year-old teacher from Johannesburg had drowned at the Maritzburg College swimming pool.

He said that at this stage there is no suspicion of “foul play” and only an inquest docket had been opened.

“All the players and staff from St Benedict’s have received counselling in the Maritzburg College chapel,” he said.

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