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Kimberley - A three-year-old boy died after he fell between the railings of a first floor flat at the Siege Building in Kimberley. The incident happened on Sunday and the boy was rushed to hospital where he remained in a coma until he died a day later.
Rylan Attwell, who turned three two weeks ago, had gone to spend the night with his grandmother, Iris Jackson, who had been renting the flat in Bean Street for less than a month.
“I was so happy when I found this flat because it was so much more spacious than my previous flat,” a devastated Jackson told the DFA On Wednesday.
“We always wanted Rylan to stay over with us on weekends and it wasn’t the first time he had spent the night with us at the new flat.”
Jackson, who shares the flat with her two other children, Chad, 10, and Aiden, 13, said that on Sunday morning she sent Chad to take his pet birds outside.
“Rylan was all around him, playing with the birds and following the other two children around.”
She said the next thing she knew, Aiden came inside and said Rylan had fallen.
“Chad had picked him up and brought him inside. He was semi-conscious at the time. When I took him in my arms, I saw that there was a bit of blood on the back of his head.”
According to Chad, Rylan slipped and fell through the bars, which is adjacent to a cast-iron spiral emergency staircase, onto the cement outside. “He was holding onto the bars, when he slipped and tried to regain his balance although he fell through the bars.”
After consulting their medical doctor, the family took the child to hospital, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.
“They did a scan soon after we arrived and then did another one later that afternoon. It was obvious that there was swelling on the brain and there were also parts of the brain that were damaged,” Rylan’s aunt, Anne Zaal, said.
Rylan’s condition continued to deteriorate and he was placed on a ventilator. “On Monday morning, the paediatrician called the family in and said he was brain dead and we needed to make a decision about whether to turn off the machines.”
Before the family could made the decision, however, Chad died.
“He was such a playful child,” Jackson said. “There are no words to describe him. He was the cleverest little thing and was always asking questions.”
The family are now concerned about the safety of the building. “There is another little boy staying in the flats and something needs to be done before there is another tragedy.”
Jackson pointed out that, according to other residents, another child also fell through the bars on a previous occasion.
“They need to raise the bars all the way to the ceiling so that the area is secure. They also need to make sure that the bars are close enough together to ensure that no child can slip through.”
Jackson said that she would never be able to return to the flat.
The estate agent, Aida, who handles the property on behalf of the owners, said on Wednesday that as soon as they were informed of the accident, they contacted the owners.
“They organised for a contractor to inspect the building and the only thing he could find that could pose a safety risk was the wrought-iron staircase. The contractor will put a gate across the staircase as a safety precaution,” Kobus van der Walt said.
He also pointed out that they had not received any complaints that the complex was unsafe from residents and added that he had no knowledge of any other child falling through the railings.
“This is a tragic incident and we express our deepest sympathy to the family.”
Police spokesman, Lieutenant Olebogeng Tawana, on Wednesday confirmed the incident and said that the police were investigating an inquest docket.
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