Witness describes freak accident that claimed CT surgeon's life

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Dr Oliver Raynham. (Netwerk24)
Dr Oliver Raynham. (Netwerk24)

Cape Town - He saw the sailboat going down the river.

Then there were sparks all over as it hit a power line, says John Finch, the owner of the Stanford River Lodge.

Netwerk24 reported that he witnessed the freak accident which claimed the life of a Cape Town medical specialist on Thursday.

Oliver Raynham, an ear, nose and throat specialist, was the doctor on duty at an annual pathfinders’ camp at the Hermanus lagoon.

Finch was talking on his phone while watching the boat with “colourful sails” go down the river between Stanford and Hermanus. On board were Raynham and three children.

“I saw the sparks fly, and thought someone had perhaps fired an emergency flare. But then I realised there was something seriously wrong,” he said.

Raynham had apparently been holding onto the mast when it brushed a power line which crossed the river.

The children jumped off the boat and Finch initially thought everyone had survived.

“We ran closer and called for help from speedboats on the river. They were there in a flash and helped those in the water.”

The children were unharmed.

It was a mad dash for the hospital after Raynham’s body was found, but he couldn’t be resuscitated.

Finch said the lagoon’s water level was higher this year because not enough water had flowed into the sea.

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