Rhodes students drown in dam

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Port Elizabeth - Two students from Rhodes University have drowned after a boat in which they were canoeing capsized at Settlers Dam just outside Grahamstown, Eastern Cape police said on Monday.

Post mortem results carried out on Sunday night confirmed that Rizwan Bhayat, 21, and Mohammed Amin Mussa, 23, suffered no physical injuries, Lieutenant Luvuyo Mjekula said.

The possibility of foul play was ruled out.

“The two and their fellow student, Mohammad Gaffour, 19... apparently hired a boat from the Thomas Baines nature reserve to fish on the Settlers Dam in the reserve at about 8.10am on Saturday,” Mjekula said.

“A strong wind came up and caused the boat to capsize, according to Gaffour, who survived the accident.

“He managed to swim to safety, however, his companions disappeared under water.”

Gaffour ran to a nearby farmhouse and was able to contact the police.

Search and rescue personnel and divers began looking for the pair on Saturday and the search was called off when it became dark. Their bodies were recovered on Sunday afternoon, Mjekula said.

The university sent its condolences to the pair's family and friends.

“It is with deep regret that I have to inform the university community of the tragic death of two of our students... They were Zambian nationals who were in their third academic year of study in Commerce and Pharmacy,” acting Vice-Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela said in a statement.

Gaffour was taken to Settlers Hospital where he received medical attention and was later discharged.

Mabizela said the parents and relatives of the students arrived in Grahamstown on Sunday and were at the dam as the divers searched for the bodies.

“On behalf of Rhodes University, I extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.”

In a separate incident, a 21-year-old student from Walter Sisulu University was killed when he allegedly jumped out of a fourth floor window on Saturday night.

Police were called to the scene around 6am on Sunday, Lt Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said.

The student jumped out of a window at the Silimela residence. He died on impact.

He was in his second year of study in the education faculty.

Fatyela said an inquest was opened.


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