Croc attack victim 'a personal friend to many'

2017-01-16 07:52
Johann Burger (Facebook)

Johann Burger (Facebook)

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Cape Town - The man who was killed by a crocodile at Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm on Saturday morning has been named as artist and guide Johann Burger.

In a statement on its Facebook page on Sunday, Le Bonheur confirmed that Burger was killed in "a tragic and fatal accident" in one of the crocodile ponds at 08:50 on Saturday.

''Johan’s passing is a huge shock to all that has worked with him and who knows him.

''We offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and friends.

''We would like to issue heartfelt thanks to everyone who have since offered their support; it is greatly appreciated during this traumatic time. This tragic incident will be fully investigated and Le Bonheur will provide further details as and when it becomes available.''

- Read more: Crocodiles kill guide in pool at Paarl croc farm

Burger was described as a ''multitalented fine artist, illustrator, landscapist, tour guide''.

He joined the Le Bonheur team to work part-time as a designer and executor of the display areas around the ponds towards the end of 2015, Le Bonheur said.

He also guided tours during the December holidays.

''His wide knowledge about, and passion for, wild animals, was well respected and valued by everyone on Le Bonheur,'' the farm said.

Burger was hailed for his extensive knowledge of botany and landscaping and for his portfolio of wildlife murals in animal parks around southern Africa.

''Johan was a personal friend to many on Le Bonheur, and a mentor to those that worked with him. He will be dearly missed by all that knew him.

''It is hard to envision the way ahead without his input; his projects concrete around us, and his dreams for future projects still alive in our minds. We remain grateful for his time shared with us, and will honour his work and his ethos in our daily lives," Le Bonheur said.

Inquest

Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk told News24 on Sunday that officers in Paarl and rescue services members were called to the crocodile farm on Saturday morning.

"On their arrival the body of a 54-year-old man, who is a crocodile tour guide, was retrieved from one of the crocodile pools," he said.

"It is alleged that he was busy in the pool when he was attacked by crocodiles."

Van Wyk said workers arriving for their shift found the tour guide’s body.

An inquest was opened.

The Le Bonheur website said its guided crocodile pond tour, conducted every 45 minutes, involved ramps leading to open dams which housed more than 1 000 crocodiles.

"Visitors have an opportunity to touch a baby croc, view crocs underwater through aquarium style viewing panels, and during summer months witness a feeding on the 12 noon and 3 pm tour," it said.

The website said the farm also offered "croc cage diving".

Read more on:    cape town

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