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Durban - An outing to the Durban Botanic Gardens has left a six-year-old girl fighting for her life at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital after she suffered two gashes to her head, one of which has cracked her skull.
Her family is now praying for her recovery and is seeking legal recourse.
Zainub Mirchie, 6, who was expected to start Grade 1 when the new school year begins on Wednesday, was out with her family at the gardens on Tuesday and while playfully taking pictures of her surroundings on a cellphone, tripped and fell into a bed of flowers in the Sunken Gardens area.
“When she fell she tried to grab hold of a statue of an angel that was near her, but the statue was not securely grounded to its base and fell on to her,” said her father, Junaid.
Zainub fell backwards on to a rocky ledge, and hit her head, and was injured once again when the statue fell on her.
Zainub was taken to hospital bleeding heavily and is in a critical condition, with a crack in her skull.
“The doctors say it will be difficult to operate because there is pressure building in her head, and she is barley conscious,” said her distraught father.
He said when he went to inspect the statue, he found that it weighed more than 70kg and was not secured in any way to its base.
“Even the wooden signs along the pathway are heavily secured, but this heavy statue doesn’t have iron rods keeping it in place,” said Mirchie.
The statues of women are located at the four corners of the garden.
“What is the worst for me is that we all know accidents happen, but even after my child was almost killed, no one has come to cordon off the statues, or make it known that they are not secure and can fall on you. No one is taking it seriously that these can be dangerous, especially as many children come here,” said Mirchie.
He said he was not contacted by the Botanic Gardens’ management and was told by an official that his daughter should not have been in the flower bed in the first place.
“I understand that, but accidents happen, and now that they know that this is potentially dangerous, as it should have been bolted to its base securely in the first place, they should take steps to correct this,” said a distressed Mirchie.
eThekwini municipality had not commented on the matter at the time of going to press.
Independent on Saturday