Man, nephew drown in Rosetta dam

2016-03-21 11:15

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Pietermaritzburg - A 42-year-old man and his teenaged nephew both died in what was described as a “freak” drowning accident at Rosetta at the weekend.

The search for their bodies lasted more than three hours, with police sifting through weeds and murky water in the dam where the pair drowned on Saturday afternoon.

Family members were holidaying at a bed and breakfast establishment in the Rosetta area near Nottingham Road when the incident occurred.

The two drowned after the uncle, who is reportedly from Sandton, and his 16-year-old nephew from Pinetown decided to go canoeing on a private dam on the property.

As other family members looked on, the canoe unexpectedly capsized, sending the man and his nephew into the water. The pair were not wearing life jackets.

Sources who did not want to be named said the pair were clinging onto the boat when the nephew “started to struggle”.

The uncle tried to help him and pulled his way towards the teenager. But when he managed to grasp him, they both disappeared under the water.

Nsele Emergency Services and Nottingham Road police rushed to the dam and began a frantic search for the pair.

“There was no sign of them,” the source said.

The SAPS Search and Rescue team from Pietermaritzburg was called in and divers sifted through reeds and murky water for about three hours until the bodies were eventually found.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Nqobile Gwala said Nottingham Road police have opened an inquest docket and will investigate the circumstances around the incident.

A manager at the bed and breakfast who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said staff at the establishment had been unaware that the people had gone to the dam or used the canoe.

“We were not told that the man and his nephew had used the canoe, even though it is freely available to our guests. If they wanted a life jacket, they had to come and request it. We only knew about the incident when we heard the screaming,” the distraught manager said.

The manager said the family had been staying at the bed and breakfast since Friday last week and had been due to check out yesterday.

However, they left on Saturday evening after the drowning.

The police would not disclose the identities of the drowning victims yesterday.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drowning

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