Cape Town – “He was supposed to start school today, but we went to see him at the mortuary.”
These were the words of Lindiwe Sukwana following the drowning of her 8-year-old son Ovayo in the Langa public swimming pool.
“He liked going to the pool. My heart hurts,” she said.
The family were visited by their ward councillor, but had not heard if they would be assisted with funeral arrangements, Sukwana said.
Meanwhile, the family of a 14-year-old who discovered Ovayo’s body are seeking counselling for the traumatised teenager.
Nathaniel Sibinda said he was worried about his son Asa following the drowning on Monday.
“Asa was swimming and said he saw a strange object in the water. He went down to see what it was, and when he realised it was a child’s body. He fetched it and brought it back up to the surface and called the lifeguards.
“There were three lifeguards on duty, but one was busy with another child who was bleeding, one was in the bathroom and the other was on lunch,” Sibinda said.
Mayco member for community services Zahid Badroodien confirmed the incident.
Asked why the drowning occurred while lifeguards were on duty, he said: “The facility was in the process of closing and all lifeguards were stationed at the pool deck, ushering patrons out of the water.
“A friend of the deceased brought to the attention of the senior lifeguard on duty that his friend was struggling under water,” Badroodien said.
“Immediately, the lifeguard jumped into the water to rescue the boy and managed to pull him on to the deck, where CPR was administered.
“At the time, the boy was responsive as there was a slight pulse and he vomited.”
He said the lifeguard continued CPR until emergency services arrived, but the boy was declared dead.
“This was the only drowning at a City pool over the season and the City is giving its full co-operation to the SAPS in their investigation,” Badroodien said.
He said the incident brought to 14 the number of fatal drownings recorded by the City’s Recreation and Parks Department this season.
“There have also been 51 non-fatal drowning incidents - where a person experiences respiratory impairment from submersion/immersion in liquid but survives.
"Of the fatal drowning incidents, 85% of victims were male and the majority were teenagers,” he said.
Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo called on anyone with information to contact the investigating officer Detective Sergeant Myeki at 021 695 8020 or 08600 10111.