The distraught mother of a six-year-old girl who drowned in a crowded paddling pool at Durban’s South Beach on Sunday claimed there were no lifeguards close by at the time of the incident.
Aphiwe Ndlovu, a Grade R pupil at Shayamoya Lower Primary School in KwaMashu, had been at the pools in the care of an aunt when she drowned at about 2pm.
He mother, Mpume Khuzwayo, 33, of F-Section, said only professional counselling could help her deal with the death of her only child.
“The duty of a lifeguard is to save lives but they failed to save my daughter because they were not anywhere near the drowning scene,” she said before breaking down.
Chris Botha, Netcare 911 spokesman, said lifeguards found the child unresponsive in the pool. They removed her and started CPR. Paramedics started advanced life support resuscitation, but she was declared dead.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said an inquest docket had been opened at Point SAPS.
A family member who spoke briefly to the Daily News said they were in shock.
“It is improper at this stage to make comments to the press, we are in mourning period,” she said.
“Our hearts are in a lot of pain.”
The girl’s family had gone to the beach with several relatives.
The eThekwini Municipality’s deputy head of parks, recreation and culture, Christo Swart, said he could only comment once he received a full report of the incident today.
When a Daily News team arrived at the paddling pools, hundreds of children were playing, seemingly unfazed by the drowning.
But there were gasps of disbelief when the girl’s body was carried from the lifeguards’ office to the mortuary van next to the pool.
Meanwhile, two sisters from Harding, aged 21 and 27, were rescued from Port Edward’s main beach yesterday. They were given medical treatment for near-drowning symptoms.