Girl (10) critical after swing set falls on her

2019-02-20 15:11
Swing set. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Swing set. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

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What started out as an ordinary Saturday for two children turned into a horrific accident.

Zoe Uithaler (10) and a friend, both from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, were playing on an A-frame swing set when it toppled over, causing Zoe to fall and hit her head.

Her grandmother, Yvonne Botha, who’s been raising Zoe since she was a baby, initially thought it would just be a nasty bump on the head and that after a few moments of tears Zoe would return to the playground.

But when she saw blood pouring from the little girl’s nose and mouth, she knew she had to call an ambulance.

“I told them it was urgent and they must come quickly,” Yvonne told Independent Online.

The family live at the Kimberley Correctional Services residential complex and according to Yvonne there are two swing sets in the playground area, but only one is cemented into the ground.

“The one Zoe was swinging on wasn’t cemented into the ground and was just standing on top of the ground.”

On the way to the hospital, Zoe started suffering seizures and lost consciousness. She was admitted to the high care unit of the Mediclinic Gariep Hospital, where she was put on a ventilator.

According to her grandmother, a hole was drilled in her skull to drain the fluid and release some of the pressure on her brain.

For Prudence Mampe (43), Zoe’s Grade 5 teacher at Flamingo Primary, the news was distressing.

“I was heartbroken. I couldn’t take it when they told me the news on Monday,” Prudence said.

“I visited her the following day and what makes me happy is that she’s conscious,” Prudence continues. “But seeing her lying there . . . it breaks my heart.”

Prudence says although the little girl isn’t responsive, she shows some movement.

“She was shaking her head and moving her feet. I asked the nurse, ‘What’s going on? Why is she doing that?’ And she said it’s because Zoe is happy to see me. Hearing that puts me at ease.”

It could be a while before Zoe returns to school but her healing is more important than anything else, Prudence says.

“She was always a very quiet girl in class and her classmates love her. When they saw the story in the newspaper they were crying.”

Kenneth Mthombeni, Deputy Regional Commissioner of Correctional Services, said while the incident is unfortunate, the responsibility falls on the parents.

“It is regrettable, but why would a parent allow a child to play in a dangerous place? The swing was not rooted in the ground so it wasn’t safe – it wasn’t a case that it had been tampered with.”

Read more on:    kimberley  |  accidents
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