Falling board leaves boy paralysed: Boy, 4, in ICU, parents stranded after freak accident

The board that hit the little boy. Picture: Supplied

The board that hit the little boy. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 25, 2024


A freak accident caused by a sudden gust of wind nearly cost the life of a four-year-old boy when a solid plastic board crashed down on his head at Cape Town Train Station.

The four-year-old was rushed to hospital after the panel hit him while he was being carried on his dad’s shoulders as they made their way along the walkway near the station.

The boy, his mother, Madeline Daniels, and dad, Fyzle Daniels, travelled all the way from the Northern Cape to attend a hospital appointment on Monday, when tragedy struck.

“We only came to Cape Town so we can get him tested for allergies at the Netcare [Christiaan Barnard Memorial] Hospital.

Prasa building. Picture: Supplied

“We were referred to this hospital because, where we live in Steinkopf, we don’t have the proper medical resources available.

“We finished eating a burger at Wimpy and then were walking back to the car, which was parked near the station. This car was to give us a lift to Paarl, where we would have boarded a bus for the six-hour drive back home,” Madeline said.

She suspects the panel came loose from a Prasa-owned building.

“I saw the object that hit him; it was a white board. He laid there motionless; it looked like he wasn’t going to make it.

“Not knowing Cape Town, we ran back to the hospital we were at, and they rushed him to Red Cross Children’s Hospital, where he has been in ICU ever since.

“I can’t believe that a boy who was so vibrant and full of life had his life changed in an instant. We are praying for his recovery. The doctor said he is paralysed from the waist down,” the father explained.

Fyzle says they now owe Netcare R3,800 for transporting their son to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

“We owe Netcare R3,800, and we don’t have money. We are now still stuck in Cape Town due to this incident. We can only be one person at his bedside here in the hospital.

“I can’t leave my wife here alone with our son, and we don’t have any family here in Cape Town,” the distraught father said.

The family is appealing for help with accommodation while they have to stay in Cape Town while their son is in ICU.

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital Communications Officer, Danielle Cargnelutti, confirmed the boy is a patient, but says due to patient confidentiality, they cannot provide further details regarding his treatment.

Meanwhile, Prasa acting regional manager, Raymond Maseko, said the matter was not reported to Prasa or the contractor on site.

“We are investigating urgently because this is a reportable incident to the Railway Safety
 Regulator and the Department of Labour and Employment.

“Establishing the facts will assist both authorities to guide Prasa as to what further investigations we must do. Prasa will be in touch with the family,” Maseko said.

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Daily Voice