Three drown in freak boating accident

2012-01-02 23:03

Johannesburg - Three people have died in a freak accident on the Bronkhorstspruit Dam after the pilot of their boat fell overboard.

Eddie dos Santos, 42, apparently lost control of his boat and fell overboard when he tried to turn too sharply to pick up his step daughter Claudia Barros-Botha, 25, and her husband Gawie Botha, 29, who had fallen off an inflatable chair. 

The two youngsters who died in the accident were Ramon da Costa, 17, and his 16-year-old friend, Mikaela de Araujo. They'd apparently fallen off the boat.

The boat, which was going round incircles, hit dos Santos and the two youngsters.

Officials of the Catamaran Club rushed to the scene, but were only able to rescue the Bothas.

Dawn, the wife of dos Santos, collapsed when she was told of the tragedy. She could not believe he was dead and, cradling him in her arms, kep on shouting for him to wake up.

It was a terrible sight, according to Barry Page a safety officer at the dam.

Pilots of speed boats are supposed to have a cord attached to their life vest and to an emergency switch to prevent just such an accident from happening.

  • Sylvia - 2012-01-02 23:21

    Very sad for the family, but there do seem to be far too many people losing control of their vehicles lately, causing loss of life.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-03 06:18

      Incredible how a family outing can end in tragedy so quickly. Not everything that happens is someone's fault - that's why we call it an 'accident' not an 'on purpose'. Condolences.

      Warren - 2012-01-03 09:09

      Well... If he did his skippers he should have known that he should be wearing a kill cord that if pulled or if the skipper fell off the boat would cut the motor. Even if not one person was wearing a lifejacket(Which I don't think is a rule once on the water) this one simple thing most likely would have saved all their lives. Very sad though!!!

      Babalaas Witblitz - 2015-01-01 11:01

      I have read many of the comments on this page already, before airing my view. I have seen callous, insensitive and down right stupid before but man oh man some of you rewrite those. I am not going to speculate about any of it for the following reasons:- 1) I was not there and did not witness 1st hand what happened. 2) I do not have reports from eye witnesses. 3) I am no an expert on boat safety. 4) I am not a qualified skipper. 5) I have not had the opportunity to personally examine all the evidence. In light of the above, I shall be wise and keep quiet, very quiet, lest I make a total fool out of myself and cause further unnecessary grief. My heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families.

  • Zelda - 2012-01-02 23:28

    Let us all learn from they mistakes.

  • Johann - 2012-01-02 23:32

    There are rules and safety regulations in place for a reason. At the expense of sounding cold-hearted, you ignore these regulations at your peril. I am however very very sorry for the two boys... I hope their families sue his estate to hell and back.

      Silvana - 2012-01-03 08:43

      You're not cold-hearted. It's cold reality of ignoring the safety rules. I see them on the Vaal dam. No life jackets, toddlers on board and quite often drunk as skunks careening around the dam.

      Ivana Natasha da Costa - 2012-01-05 10:52

      You are pathetic. My uncle followed all rules and regulations. You don't even know the facts, at all. Firstly, my brother and his girlfriend were killed, not two boys. Second, my uncle died in the attempt to save them. So shut your god damned mouth because you clearly lack any sense. So please, 3 families are broken while you sit there assuming you know the facts. I hope you feel clever now you idiot.

  • theO rAcLe - 2012-01-03 00:28

    Where were their life jakets Ha....................

      Jerome - 2012-01-03 02:20

      A life jacket does not protect you from an out of control boat HA.Think before you speak , it will make it easier on all concerned

      Gungets - 2012-01-03 06:41

      Connecting the "dead man's switch" does. This was a lapse in safety. Desperately sad, but true.

      Sandra - 2012-01-03 07:40

      I also asked that questions, did they have life jackets on? Terrible accident.

      Colbrin - 2012-01-03 07:53

      I believe in such a case a life jacket would actually make things worse. With a jacket on, you are unable to dive under the water and avoid a impact with the boat.

      mark.bischoff - 2012-01-03 11:22

      Very good point Colbrin, i thought exactly the same. But rules are rules, life jackets must be worn.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:50

      To the oracle.... THEY ALL HAD LIFE JACKETS ON!!!! what a stupid insensitive comment. Do you now feel smart for posting that comment. coz as you sit there smug with your "clever" little comment, three familiea heats have been completely shattered!!! if you dont have anything decent to say then rather keep quiet.

  • johan.cronje1 - 2012-01-03 01:24

    Iy is called a " dead mans switch" and cuts all electrical power to motor when driver is thrown overboard. All inland waters also require persons operating a vessel, to have obtained a skippers ticket, and all passengers to wear a approved life jacket. Having seen the boat on TV i would also speculate that it was overloaded.

      Jerome - 2012-01-03 02:18

      good on you , How do you in this tragic time of this family thumbsuck at the fact that he did not have a skippers and that the people were not wearing life jackets.Oh yes and how in your expert opinion did you come up with your obviously ignorant speculation that the boat was overloaded.Five people ? Maybe rather just leave the family to mourn the loss of their family and not speculate

      Sharkshoot - 2012-01-03 08:26

      Taking a turn too sharp boils down to ignorance and inexperience.

      gbbfg - 2012-01-03 09:11

      No, it's a good point. Where's the red chord you're supposed to strap to your wrist when operating a powered boat? Article clearly says the boat was going round in circles and hit the victims in the water. That's negligence on behalf of the driver. Extremely sad that this happened yes, but this is exactly why boat engines have this feature. Jerome: If a negligent driver of a car runs some people down, everyone here would be calling for his head. This is no different I'm afraid. If the rules had been followed, the engine would've stopped the second he fell out of the boat and everyone would be fine.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:21

      Just by the way, this was a FREAK ACCIDENT. The Driver of the boat did have his skippers and no one was being irrisponsible. There were 4 passengers in the boat and two being pulled on a tube... NOT OVERLOADED and every single one of the passengers had life jackets on. the driver did not turn too sharp and was not speeding. he did however hit a wake from another boat which caused the problem. all you peolpe who sit here speculating have no idea what actually, but you are all callous enough to makes these comments.

  • Bongani Vontav??us Khumalo - 2012-01-03 01:58

    Ramon bro R.I.P... The Dream of Martyry is one that shouldn't diminish!!! I trust you and Mikaela are in a better place... R.I.P!

  • Pierre Budke - 2012-01-03 02:16

    Precautions should have been taken with him having his jacket connected to the dead mans switch! Also I have noticed that people race up and down on the water without consideration to others ( not saying he was ) but very sad to here this! May his family find comfort and peace

  • Wendy - 2012-01-03 05:40

    How awful for the family. I can't agree that it was a freak accident .. it seems like a bit of negligence to me.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:23

      so easy to speculate isn't it. it was a freak accident.

  • Bob - 2012-01-03 05:57

    So Tragic...Yet so avoidable. If you don’t follow the rules on the water, the consequences are always so dire!

  • Sean - 2012-01-03 06:38

    This is unfortunately purely due to negligence I am afraid to say! That safety cord that should act as an emergency switch-off should have been worn, that is specifically what it is there for! Once again people lost their lives due to negligence, my condolences to all friends and loved ones though! May you be strong through this period mourning.

      Ivana Natasha da Costa - 2012-01-05 10:45

      You are talking about my uncle. There was no negligence what so ever. You fool, you don't know the story. My uncle was the most careful man on this planet. So do me a favour and keep your foolish comments to yourself. I lost 3 people in that accident, my brother, his gf and my uncle. You have no right to assume any facts, you have no right to speak badly of my uncle.

  • Marc - 2012-01-03 06:54

    Extremely sad, tragic in fact. However, in no way was this a "freak" accident. It was a lack of clear-minding thinking in an emergency, pure and simple. As with motor vehicles, many vessel 'drivers' to use a water-skiing term, clamber in without realising they are in charge of a "power tool". Journo, please note: a "freak accident" would be if the boat was hit by a seismic wave, or some similarly completely external and uncontrollable element.

  • Jarret - 2012-01-03 06:54

    Killswitch, Killswitch, Killswitch. ITs not just there to complicate your life guys. Its there to SAVE them.

  • mark.bischoff - 2012-01-03 07:40

    This must clearly have been negligence. We were also at Bronkhorstspruit dam over the weekend boating and skiing. Flipping three people off a boat doesn't just happen very easily, but besides that, all my condolences to the families of the people involved.

      gillian.labuschagne - 2012-01-03 20:04

      You are not God to pass judgement - you do not know the facts and there was no NEGLIGENCE. We know the details and the pathologists reports. So stop speculating ALL OF YOU OUT THERE. Have some respect for the dead. Eddie you are a true hero.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:33

      Thank you Gillian. I am also a friend of the victims and the victims families, and i too know the path reports. it was not negligence, no one was drunk, no one was irrisponsible, no one was speeding. it happened by ACCIDENT and its horrible and three families lives have been altered for the worst, but its soo easy for ignorant poeple to have their say even though they dont know the facts. They have no regard for the families and friends involved.

      knellorama - 2012-01-06 15:51

      "This must clearly have been negligence" was this really necessary?

  • carel.mouton - 2012-01-03 07:59

    This is very sad. The boating regulations does not require passangers of a boat to wear life jackets. Only passangers under the age of 12 are required to wear life jackets at all times. Although most boats are equiped with a deadmans swith there is no mention in the legislation thereoff. Boating, like any other sport is just as safe as you make it. My condolences to the families of the victims of this accident.

      Peter - 2012-01-03 10:23

      If you go out in a boat either in the ocean rivers or dams you should always use your life jackets, overseas in civilised countries it is law but overhere no one worries about laws and that is why things like this happens. It is a shame this happened but if we had proper laws that are obeyed things should be different, when are we going to get into the 21st century

  • trbester - 2012-01-03 08:14

    Ramon da Costa and Mikaela de Araujo may you rest in peace, you will be missed from all your friends and teachers at Marist brothers, .......Ramon and Mikaela drama class will never be the same without you. Ramon I will miss your random comments in class and the fact that you were a real gentleman. Mikaela you were an angel on this earth, I will miss your friendship, love Genevieve and Lukas ........ And all your friends.

  • trbester - 2012-01-03 08:32

    Ramon and Mikaela you will be dearly missed by all your friends, families and teachers. Drama class will never be the same with the two of you gone. Ramon we will miss your random comments in class and the fact that you were a real gentlemen. Mikaela you were an angel on this earth and we will miss your sweet smile and kind heart, you showed everyone at school that true love and fairy tales do will be forever missed....... Love Genevieve, Lukas and all your friends........

  • Silvana - 2012-01-03 08:37

    This is what happens when people don't obey the rules. Senseless, unnecessary tragedy.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:36

      EVERYONE OBEYED THE RULES. get your facts straight before you comment you insensitive person.

      Ivana Natasha da Costa - 2012-01-05 10:39

      You listen here you stupid neandrathal waste of human existence. I lost my little brother, his girlfriend who was like a sister in law and my uncle. You weren't there, you don't know what happened. My uncle and every person on that boat had life jackets, they obeyed every possible rule. So do me a favour and keep your mouth shut.

  • stephen.cole1 - 2012-01-03 08:43

    Not enough safety first going on !

      Dawn - 2012-01-09 22:56

      YOu where there i take it?

  • Christie - 2012-01-03 09:07

    Most of the comments are very childish really, 3 people lost their lives having fun on a boat, why all the negative comments, keep your dumb ass opinions to yourself. Funny when a tragic accidents unfold everyone else seems to know better.

      Mike - 2012-01-03 09:20

      I saw this at 11:05pm last night; my daughter knew these unfortunate teenagers and most of the comments are revolting considering the outcome. Good on you Christie ....

      monique.tait - 2012-01-03 10:45

      Good on you Christie! One of the survivors is my best friend and she is completely traumatised. This is a tragedy! I actually spent New Years Eve with all the people involved in this accident.....never did it even cross my mind that two days later they'd be gone. Very very sad! My sincerest condolences go out to the families of the victims.

      LiLzIpOp - 2012-01-03 11:06

      Thank u Christie!we also lost a friend and people are saying such horrible friend and I are still crying because of this...

      patricia.b.tee - 2012-01-03 11:23

      Accidents happen most of the time right in your very own home, a lot of them fatal, falling of roofs etc. Lets not always think first how we can critisize but rather think of the family and loved ones left behind, have compassion and say a silent prayer for them all!

  • Philip - 2012-01-03 09:10

    Very sad,basic safty,remember a boat is not just a toy.a bad day for boating in South Africa.

  • Nelis - 2012-01-03 09:25

    SAMSA-National Small vessel safety regulations 2007: rule7 (5) The skipper or person operating any power driven vessel of more than 15hp and of 9m or less may not get underway unless an operational kill switch is attached to the in operater.(6) this does not apply during launching or beaching through surf

  • Lario - 2012-01-03 09:35

    Condelences to family and friends.

  • Nosipho - 2012-01-03 10:23

    To Ramon and Mickey you will be dearly missed by your family and by us,your friends... id like to send my condolences to the de Araujo and the da Costa family... we will always love and miss yall

  • Nosipho - 2012-01-03 10:27

    i cannot believe that people are going on about the technical issues regarding this tragedy instead of sending their condolences to the families of these you really think that the families would like to read something like this...

  • Tony - 2012-01-03 10:41

    There are some good comments coming out of this and as a person who has managed a recreation resort the following applies. 1 Attach the engine cut off switch to your body 2. do not use alcohol and drive a boat. 3. Everyone must wear life jackets on the boat. 4 NEVER turn a boat sharply and beyond its capabilities unless at slow speed 5. Red Flags to be used when people are in the water (unfortunately too late!). Also the direction of travel is governed on the dam. Disobey dam and safety rules at ANY TIME and someone WILL be hurt/killed! Was the driver a certified skipper - if not there will be consequences! I feel saddened by this as the kids are still young and there is/was a whole future ahead of them. My condolences to the families.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:41

      Yes tony actually the driver was a certified skipper and he was not speeding, nor was he drunk and he hit a wake when he turned. just bt the way, the driver is one of the passengers who died. he was a husband and a father, and a friend and a resonsible good person. thing about what you are saying about these people before you post it as it is inaccuate and insensitive.

  • Nosipho - 2012-01-03 10:51

    We all still cant believe you're gone.It all feels like a bad dream.Ramon and Mikaela,you were such great,kind-hearted people.Mikky,I cant even begin to imagine sittig in the drama class and not being able to hear your voice or turn around and see you right there smiling at me.Break times will never be the same without you guys!We know you are both in better place now,but jus wish we could've got to say goodbye.We'llnever forget you. Thank you for being such amazing friends to all of us.Love Lily and the Drama Family

  • LiLzIpOp - 2012-01-03 11:04

    We all still cant believe you're gone.It all feels like a bad dream.Ramon and Mikaela,you were such great,kind-hearted people.Mikky,I cant even begin to imagine sittig in the drama class and not being able to hear your voice or turn around and see you right there smiling at me.Break times will never be the same without you guys!We know you are both in better place now,but jus wish we could've got to say goodbye.We'llnever forget you. Thank you for being such amazing friends to all of us.Love Lily and the Drama Family

  • Frik - 2012-01-03 11:21

    The irretation of stupid rules and a devil may care attitude is the root of this. A main Skippers requirement is "NO DRINKS FOR THE SKIPPER" and stick to the safety rules. Without a kill switch ...What was the man thinking. I wonder if he had a skippers license? I am truely sorry for the people and their families ....

      monique.tait - 2012-01-03 11:40

      The skipper was sober and he definitely had a skippers license. He was a very responsible person......unfortunately accidents happen, it's just sad that the outcome was so tragic.

      Storm - 2012-01-04 13:43

      Thank you monique for setting Frik straight... Frik you dont know what you are saying. keep your cold innacurate comments to your self

      knellorama - 2012-01-06 15:47

      Who made you judge and jury?

      Dawn - 2012-01-09 23:02

      Shew all these clever people that where there that day - Frik get your facts right - you as all the others here bow your stupid heads and apologise to this family - oh and by the way Karma is a b.....and think before u dribble stupid words out.......

  • Maggie - 2012-01-03 11:29

    Condolences to the families. This is very sad! Speculation on what happend and who's fault does not change the fact that these people lost their lives. I do however hope that this unfortunate event has a positive impact on the safety of others using the dam. We were there for the last couple of days and there were lots of boats and jetski's, not following the proper rules when using the dam. No life jackets, no flags when pulling people behind the boat, going at high speeds, and going in opposite direction of which they are supposed to. Not saying this was the case here, but hoping safety messures will be better implemented.

  • Nosipho - 2012-01-03 11:33


  • sheila.pinheiro - 2012-01-03 12:09

    I too, now this family and have been on outings with them before. Eddie (the Skipper) is one of the most responsible people i know especially when it came to passengers and being out on the water, which is something he loved very much. Dawn and Ricky - As you comprehend this profound loss, let yourself cry knowing each tear is a note of love rising to the heavens. May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and in the days ahead and although no words can really help to ease the loss you bear, just know that you are very close in every thought and prayer. May both families be surrounded by love and support during this terrible tragedy! My sincerest condolences!

  • Neville - 2012-01-03 12:34

    One moment of madness brings a lifetime of sadness

  • Bernice - 2012-01-03 13:34

    My dear friend Dawn & darling Ricky, my you find comfort & strength in God during this tragic time. Frank & Ursula, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. God Bless. xxx

  • Dean - 2012-01-03 14:02

  • Jerome - 2012-01-03 16:37

    This will be my last comment on this. My point is this . Yes he probably did forget to plug kill switch to his jacket .Anyone here who has never in their lives accidentally skipped a robot or stop street, never overtaken on a solid line , never turned too wide in a corner, always have worn their seatbelt every time they got in their car . You stand up and pass judgement here . Shark you are obviously an expert on boats , did you take into affect that he might have turned into a wake and realised that its not like a car where you do a handbrake turn . He had an inflatable chair tube at the back of his boat . Everyone who is detached so quickly wants to blame someone. It was an unfortunate accident . I pray that everyone so quick to judge this family man is never faced with this type of judgement in a such a time of despair . Carry on judging and blaming. Think ill rather step away from tragedy hunters. The perfect crowd who feels they have the right to speculate and judge a man and a circumstance of which they have no idea as to what happened

      Denise - 2012-01-03 17:58

      My condolences to all who lost a loved one. Now is the time for compassion and a loving hand. May God grant you peace in this time of loss.

  • Neo Latoya Maduna - 2012-01-03 21:05

    We have lost two ppl so dear to us:( Mikky I remember us doing the fitness test jogging at least 4 laps now I can't do dat with anyone I miss ur bubbly personality Ramon I didn't know u well but I knew if I had to actually talk to u I'd like u coz of the way u cared 4 my friend May ur souls R.I.P Love u

  • Andrew - 2012-01-04 10:23

    Firstly I wish the family/ies real strength and faith as they face up to such a massive loss during a time of celbration and leisure. I am a licensed power boat driver (although a sailor at heart) and have witnessed such an accident and know of a few other really bad ones. Three days ago in Plett a son of a friend of mine was driven over and thankfully only very badkly bruised! Power boats are killers and even the most experienced skippers can get thron out whilst doing tight manouvers and hitting their own wake. KILL switches are absolutely non-negotiable, I have been rattling on about them for years and I realise that many skippers have no idea what they are for. I hope these lives are not lost in vain and that lessons can be learned!

  • knellorama - 2012-01-04 11:37

    So many experts - after the fact - so many judges and such a large jury!!!I think the comment box is meant for compassion in a case like this. Give some love and thought to those suffering! What does it really matter how and what happened now to these poor people. The fact is they have suffered a horrible tragedy and do not deserve for their lost loved ones to be put on public trial while they are mourning!!!! How about it guys and gals - how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of such a tragedy and you had to read your comments! Marilyn

  • tony.ferreira69 - 2012-01-04 12:31

    this is such a sad moment for these three families ,and with all these comments and judging of the skipper {eddy }is not going to change ,and bring them back rather pray for the families

  • Tony - 2012-01-05 10:02

    Storm, thanks for your comments, which I appreciate muchly as it does set the record straight from what all the other comments have been. As you will see by my comments it was an overview of how one should behave on a water body with a boat. Given that he obeyed all the basic rules, he forgot the most important one- the kill switch! It could have saved lives. Sorry that they were friends of yours and as I commented, my condolences to the families. Whether it be by car, boat or plane, some mistakes can be fatal unfortunately. Keep well and thanks for your comments.

  • Ivana Natasha da Costa - 2012-01-05 11:03

    I would just like to say to all the people posting negative inaccurate comments to please rather not say a word. I lost 3 dear people in that accident. My brother his girlfriend and my uncle. It was no ones fault, my uncle obeyed all the rules and he was an amazing man. They all had life jackets on. So before you bad mouth anyone involved, ask yourself... Do I know the facts? Because clearly none of you know the real story. My father survived the accident and he knows exactly what happened. Uncle Eddy, you were the most amazing man I knew and I am grateful for you trying to save everyone. Ramon my dear brother, I miss you so much and I'd do anything to have you back and I love you so incredibly much. Mikaela, you are truly an angel. Thank you for making my brother so happy. I love you my girl. RIP 3 beautiful angels.

      Tony - 2012-01-06 07:32

      Ivana, in a public domain such as this there are always going to be comments and I don't think many know that families read these comments. I've seen boating accidents and it is ugly. I wish you and your family all the condolences possible and may GOD be with you and the family throughout.

  • Bonita - 2012-01-09 10:29

    May God be with your family. It could have happened to anyone. The Retards with their big mouths better watch what they say... You have no right to leave your stupid opinions here, it is not needed when a family is grieving.

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