The area where the body of a 16-year-old teenage boy was recovered after drowning on Sunday while crossing the Mkhuze River. PICTURE: SAPS
The area where the body of a 16-year-old teenage boy was recovered after drowning on Sunday while crossing the Mkhuze River. PICTURE: SAPS

Pongola teen’s body recovered a day after drowning

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Feb 17, 2021

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Durban POLICE recovered the body of a teen who had drowned in northern KwaZulu-Natal during the heavy rains over the weekend.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the Empangeni K9 Unit, Umhlali Search and Rescue and Vryheid K9 Search and Rescue Unit went out to the drowning of a 16-year-old boy, who was swept away while crossing the Mkhuze River in the Zonyama area of Pongola on Sunday.

Mbele said officers from Vryheid started searching at the drowning point, while Umhlali and Empangeni officers searched 6km downstream.

She said that with the aid of the community and the K9 unit, the body was located near the Somkhanda Game Reserve approximately 11km from where the teen drowned. Police also experienced difficulty retrieving the body across the wide, fast flowing river.

“A rope rescue system was set up and members had to swim across the fast-flowing river to secure an inflatable raft in order to haul the deceased across the river utilising specialised rope rescue systems. After a two-hour operation, the deceased was finally hauled across safely without any further injury and handed over to local SAPS members from Magudu. An inquest is being investigated,” said Mbele.

According to a source in the uPhongolo Local Municipality disaster management unit, the teenager was the only person reported to have drowned during the weekend’s heavy rainfall.

In a similar incident, Empangeni Search and Rescue finally located and recovered the body of a man who was reported to have drowned on Thursday last week in the Umfolozi River in KwaMbonambi.

Mbele said that late on Sunday afternoon, police received information that the body was seen floating in the river close to the Monzi Pump Station. The police then launched their vessel close to the Mtubatuba Sugar Mill and proceeded down the river.

“The victim was located 26km down from the launch sight. The victim was in late stages of decomposition and found among logs and reeds. The members placed the victim in a body bag, loaded him into the vessel and transported him back to the launch site where he was handed to Mtubatuba SAPS members,” said Mbele.

She said the victim was found 55km from where he drowned.

Meanwhile, South African Weather Service forecaster Wiseman Dlamini said between Monday and Tuesday morning, Richards Bay received the most rainfall with 68mm in northern KZN.

Dlamini said other areas that received a significant amount of rainfall were Empangeni with 37mm and St Lucia with 32mm.

“It looks like this week not so much rain is expected for most parts of the province. On Friday there is a 30% chance of showers along the coast,” said Dlamini.

The Water and Sanitation Department in KZN said the Umgeni Water Supply System experienced an upsurge this week, recording 80.2% from last week’s 79.4%. This time last year it recorded 64.6%.

The increase was a result of recent heavy rains in parts of the province.

Daily News

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