SA Maritime Safety Authority to launch investigation into Vaal River boat accident

The Vaal River. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

The Vaal River. File Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Oct 24, 2023


The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has launched an investigation into a boating accident that occurred at the weekend at the Vaal River, claiming four lives, including a young child.

According to police, the tragic incident took place at about 4pm on Saturday, October 21, when two small vessels, a boat with 10 people on board, and a barge sailed past each other. The one reportedly created a large wake that resulted in waves leading the other to capsize and people on board flung into the water.

The vessel reportedly launched at the Sam Gross municipal site on the Vaal River with 10 people, including the skipper.

“The vessel was reportedly cruising in the direction of the Vereeniging area when it came across a moving barge in the opposite direction.

“However, according to the report, it was assumed that the barge, due to its size, created a large wake and the resulting waves flooded the speed boat, leading to the speed boat being submerged and eventually capsizing,” Samsa said.

A woman and a three-year-old toddler were trapped underneath the speed boat in the capsized position and subsequently drowned. They were both wearing personal flotation devices.

It was further reported that another two adults, also fitted with personal flotation devices, drowned further away from the capsized speed boat.

The skipper and five other people survived the incident.

“According to the report, the SAPS Water Wing arrived on the scene at about 5.30pm and assisted in retrieving all the deceased from the river, as well as all the survivors, within twenty minutes of the incident occurring. Paramedics were reportedly also on the scene and attended to the survivors. An investigation into this incident is ongoing,” Samsa said.

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