Pretoria - Many questions surround the tragic drowning of a 7-year-old boy at a city resort and the finding of his body only the following day.
Several factors are thought to have influenced the initial unsuccessful search of Bohlale Mokoena, 7. He went missing at Zambibush Resort in the city on Saturday afternoon.
His body was found floating in one of the swimming pools only the following morning.
Management said in a statement on Facebook the factors included water temperature and conditions, the limited number of divers and bad visibility.
Zambibush is situated north of the CBD and is a popular resort for family outings, with swimming pools, water slides, playgrounds, a petting zoo and plenty of other attractions.
Members of management were unavailable to talk to the Pretoria News about the matter on Monday. But on Sunday, they took to Facebook and wrote: “Our condolences go out to the family of Bohlale Mokoena."
“Yesterday (Saturday) at 4pm he went missing at our premises, and according to his mother, she realised this within minutes. Zambibush management members were alerted about the missing child.”
Staff members started looking for him everywhere possible, combing the whole resort and every possible area, the statement read.
“Divers searched in all the pools and fish ponds with no luck."
“This morning (Sunday) at 7am, management found Bohlale’s body in one of the clear pools. The SAPS are investigating the case, with Zambibush’s full co-operation.”
SAPS spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo told the Pretoria News: “It is alleged that a boy named Bohlale Mokoena went missing at 4pm on Saturday at Zambibush Resort in Sinoville and his body was found in one of the pools the following day.”
He said police had opened an inquest docket for investigation.
The resort, which is normally closed on Mondays, was open for families and friends to enjoy the pools and slides on Monday.
As the city’s hot weather conditions persisted into the long weekend, holidaymakers flocked to Zambibush, including the Mokoena family from Tembisa.
More than 20 staff members were involved in the frantic search for the boy once he had been found to be missing.
“We even looked in all the fields and streets up until darkness set in. The local community policing forum (CPF) members arrived around 7pm and took over the search. An ambulance service and Tshwane Emergency Services officers also arrived to help with the search,” management said.
The family went to report the mysterious disappearance of the boy to the Sinoville police station, which drew the attention of the CPF.
Sinoville CPF chairperson Vernon Smith said after he heard of the missing child, he called their members and chairpersons from other areas to mobilise people to help in the search. “We only learnt about it when the mother was at the police station; she was in a traumatic space,” he said.
“When we started the search it was already dark. The water was muddy and not clear because people had been swimming all day long, so members could not see clearly. And because it was not clear, they used poles to search inside the water, but could not feel anything; they probably missed the body.”
He said the search was called off sometime between 10pm and 11pm. They were told by the resort personnel that they could resume the search at 7:30am on Sunday.
When they arrived in the morning, they were told the little boy’s body had been found in one of the pools.
The particular pool had been searched the previous night.
“Our hearts go out to the family and as a community we would work hard to ensure that such incidents do not happen again,” he said.