College pupil dies en route home from Hong Kong

2016-03-26 17:05
Heart surgery (File)

Heart surgery (File)

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Durban – Condolences have been pouring in for Grade 11 Thomas More College pupil, Blake Kerdachi, who died of a suspected heart attack on his way home from a school trip in Hong Kong.

School principal Shane Cuthbertson told News24 that Kerdachi had been part of a group of about 36 pupils – the school's first netball and rugby teams - who had travelled to Hong Kong about twelve days ago.

Returning, the team took a flight from Hong Kong and connected on a flight to Johannesburg in Dubai.

“In the early hours of Friday morning he collapsed in the plane from Dubai to Johannesburg. They rushed him to Arwyp Medical Centre Private Hospital in Kempton Park in a critical condition and he was eventually placed on life support.

“They battled and had to rush him to surgery where they opened his chest to try and get the blood flowing to the heart muscle but he died last night at around 19:11.”

Cuthbertson said when Kerdachi arrived at the hospital doctors initially thought that he may have had bird flu but he was tested and found to have had Influenza B, which is normal flu.

“After a telephone conversation with Blake’s surgeon we have now received written confirmation and a lab report indicating that Blake had Influenza B, a common flu. His death has been put down to heart complications. 

“We sent the entire team to get tested because they thought maybe they could have contracted it from him but we have to wait for 72 hours for the results but if he was cleared I suspect that the children are fine.

Gone home

“We are deeply saddened by the fact that Blake has passed away. This is indeed a great tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the Kerdachi family.”

Cuthbertson said the Kerdachi’s funeral was expected to be held on Friday.

“The family is still in Johannesburg but we are hoping to have a big memorial service for him.”

He said the children the rest of the teams had gone home and would receive trauma counselling on Tuesday when schools reopen.

Cuthbertson said he was heartbroken about the teenager’s death.

“Condolences have been coming in and the community is mourning. This was dramatic and sad. Dealing with the loss of a child is difficult for any parent,” he said. 

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