Disabled man drowns in waterway in Century City

2019-04-24 15:00
Graham Clarke. (Facebook)

Graham Clarke. (Facebook)

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A paralysed man has drowned in Century City near the Canal Walk Shopping Centre after he fell into one of the waterways in the surrounding area.

Graham Clarke, who was wheelchair bound after suffering a stroke more than 30 years ago, was a long-time resident of the Eric Miles Cheshire Home in Milnerton, Cape Town.

Alet Bosman, the general manager at the facility which cares for profoundly physically disabled people, said the 61-year-old Clarke had asked his carer to return to their car and fetch him Weetbix so that he could feed the ducks swimming in the establishment’s canals during a shopping trip.

As the carer walked back to where they had parked, he saw the former health inspector fall into the water.

Strapped in and paralysed from the middle of his mouth down due the stroke that affected his brain stem, Clarke is believed to have died instantly.

Bosman said she was devastated over Clarke’s death, explaining that he had been at the home for 33 of the 34 years she had worked there.

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"He was an incredibly brave guy, who sometimes got very frustrated because he was normal in every way, except for his body," she said.

"But he never bitched and moaned. He was such a positive person."

Clarke got around on a motorised wheelchair. He communicated by means of a special machine with an infrared light, or would "speak" with the help of staffers spelling out the words and him confirming it facially.

"The residents are very upset about his death, but are accepting it. He has had a long-suffering life, but was happy nevertheless."

Clarke’s carer was traumatised by what had happened and was receiving counselling.

"He is very sad, but we will look after him," Bosman said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed a death inquest docket had been opened.

According to the Century City Property Owners' Association, Clarke fell into the canal near the Waterstone residential development in Century City.

"Extensive efforts by his carer, Century City safety and security first responders and ER24 paramedics to resuscitate him were unsuccessful," it said in a statement.

"According to Alet Bosman, manager of the Eric Miles Chesire home, Graham had previously suffered numerous strokes and is thought to have had another attack resulting in him activating the chin control and steering the wheelchair off the pedestrian walkway and into the canal.

"Our condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

*Note: This story has been updated with comment from the Century City Property Owners' Association.

Read more on:    cape town  |  accidents

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