The water-filled hole from which bodies of three boys who drowned were retrieved. Photo: Supplied by SA Police Service (SAPS).

Johannesburg - Three boys drowned in an abandoned mine hole used by illegal miners in Mecklenburg, Limpopo police said on Monday.

Police spokesperson, Captain Mamphaswa Seabi, said the three, two siblings Itumeleng and Machaba Ramabala aged eight and nine, and their seven-year-old friend Pabalelo Mokgethwa went out to play in the area on Sunday morning but never came back.

''The parents became suspicious when, at about 5pm, the children had not returned and were nowhere to be found. They searched in the area and proceeded to the illegal mine hole which was filled with water due to the recent rainfall in the area. On arrival, they were met by the sight of their children’s clothes next to the water-filled hole and started anticipating that the worst might have happened.''

The water-filled hole from which bodies of three boys who drowned were retrieved. Photo: Supplied by SA Police Service (SAPS).

Rescue teams retrieved the bodies after a search operation. The Ramabala siblings were Grade 4 learners at Ramoko Primary School. Mokgwethwa was a Grade 2 learner at Mmalegaswi Primary School.

An inquest docket has been opened.

African News Agency (ANA