'If only she could appear one last time' – Hartbeespoort fire victim's sister devastated after party boat tragedy

By Kirstin Buick
22 November 2016

The woman also leaves behind a husband and three young children.

A young woman who was killed when a fire broke out on a party boat on the Hartbeespoort Dam, leaves behind a husband and three young children.

“I have lost my best friend, who was a pillar of strength and a peacemaker,” Gwendoline Mnguni’s sister Thando Seemisi told News24 on Monday.

“As much as people say we should accept her death and move on because they believe it is God’s will - it is just not easy. If only she could appear one last time and give me a hug.”

Mnguni, 33, of Diepkloof, Soweto, and her husband were on an outing on the boat, Prime Time, on Saturday afternoon, when a fire broke out. About 200 people were on board at the time.

Mnguni was trapped in the bathroom and died of smoke inhalation. Three passengers drowned.

“The media keeps saying she was burnt beyond recognition. She was not burnt. She died from smoke inhalation,” Seemisi said. Three young children Seemisi said Mguni's husband was trying to cope. “You can just see tell that he was hurt too much,” she said.

The couple have three children, aged 12, 7, and 1.

She would be laid to rest on Saturday.

Earlier on Monday, North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, said he was saddened by the deaths.

“On behalf of the North West provincial government, we send our condolences to the families affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult moment,” he said in a statement.

The SA Maritime Safety Authority was investigating.

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Pelonomi Makau, said authorities had opened an inquest docket. She said the cause of the fire was still unknown.


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