Doctor’s body found

2019-11-06 12:46
Members of the search and rescue team bring the body of Dr Vidwan Singh up a steep path after it was retrieved from the Howick Falls on Tuesday.

Members of the search and rescue team bring the body of Dr Vidwan Singh up a steep path after it was retrieved from the Howick Falls on Tuesday. (MOEKETSI MAMANE)

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A week-long search for Pietermaritzburg doctor Vidwan Singh ended with the discovery of his body in the pool below the Howick Falls on Tuesday.

Singh (72) was last seen leaving his surgery in Chota Motala (Old Greytown) Road at midday last Tuesday.

The family had reported him missing at Mountain Rise police station last Tuesday night and a search began.

Police traced his phone to the Howick area, where they found his BMW parked near the Howick Falls view site. The Witness was told that Singh had been spotted by some vendors sitting in his car for a while, until he got out of the vehicle at 6 pm on Tuesday.

The distraught Singh family, who were seen crying and consoling each other, gathered at the Howick Falls on Tuesday and watched in horror as members of the search and rescue team retrieved the body from among the rocks in the pool below the Howick Falls.

A large crowd gathered at the viewpoint of the Falls, and police had to erect tape to clear people away.

Singh’s body was carried up the steep path by the search and rescue team with the assistance of Working on Fire volunteers.

It took divers about 30 minutes navigating sharp and wet rocks to retrieve the body and get it to the top of the Falls where people had gathered.

The family and friends gathered around Singh’s body and said a short prayer before a mortuary van took it away.

The body was spotted by retired search and rescue diver Jack Haskins, who alerted authorities and the dive teams. Haskins, who works in the Howick area, confirmed that he spotted the body floating at the Howick Falls at about 10 am on Tuesday. He said he had decided to take his binoculars to the Falls to see if he could spot anything.

“I saw a body floating at the base of the Falls and called in the authorities who retrieved it,” Haskins said.

“I had a gap in my day so thought I could help the search and rescue team … I suppose old habits die hard. From previous experience I worked out how long it would take for the body to surface in the water,” he said.

Family spokesperson and Singh’s brother-in-law Neren Anand said the family had lived in hope that Singh would be found alive.

“We are devastated. We had hoped to find him alive and we now just want closure and space to deal with what’s to follow from here. The family and the people that loved him are dealing with tremendous pain,” said Anand.

Singh’s funeral service will be held today at the GVS Hall in Mountain Rise.

On social media, those who knew Singh described his death as a tragic loss to the community.

Warrant Officer Joshua Maistry, Umgungundlovu North Cluster spokesperson, thanked businesses within the Falls precinct who offered their assistance with refreshments for everyone who gathered daily to search for Singh’s body.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  missing doctor
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