The parents of Janco du Toit (15) are struggling to come to grips with how exactly their son died as he was scooping fish from a neglected swimming pool in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.
“The questions are nagging,” says Johann Hatting, one of Janco’s uncles and the family spokesperson.
Janco had been removing tiny fish from a neglected swimming pool on Sunday at a family member’s home when he suddenly collapsed. The dirty water in the pool was only knee-deep.
Another of Janco’s uncles, André du Toit, was standing on the pool’s edge when he saw Janco collapse.
“At first he thought it was a prank,” Johann tells YOU. “But when his head disappeared under the murky green water, André realised something was seriously wrong and went to help Janco.”
André lay the teen down on the pool’s steps and immediately started CPR until emergency services arrived.
Janco was declared dead at the scene.
The teen’s parents, Corné and Johan, are struggling to cope with the shock of their son’s death, Johann says.
“There are many questions and few answers. We’re awaiting the autopsy report but it doesn’t make sense that a sturdy boy weighing between 50-65kg should drown in a meter of water,” Johann says. “I think we’re all hoping to find closure by finding out what caused his sudden death.”
Johann says Janco was like a son to him. “He often visited us – he used to travel to school with my wife. Janco and our daughter are both in Hoër Tegniese Skool Middelburg. Every morning when my wife picked him up, he’d have coffee ready for her.
“He was incredibly helpful and loving. I would’ve been very proud of him if he’d been my son – always neat and tidy and popular with his schoolmates.”
Janco had started his Grade 10 year this year.
Johann says he suffered a similar tragedy in 1991 when his own two-year-old daughter, Mariëlda, died suddenly. “The death of a child is trauma that you never process. It haunts you every day.”
Janco will be laid to rest at 10am on Friday at the Corpus Christi Church in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.