Pretoria - A Mpumalanga man drowned in the Mzinti River in Tonga after saving a 10-year-old boy who was struggling to swim.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when Mpumi Ntiwane, 22, and his three friends went fishing by the Mzinti River.
According to provincial police spokesperson Selvy Mohlala, Ntiwane and the boy decided to swim from their original fishing spot to the other side of the river.
“Little did they know that the boy will have difficulties in swimming. The boy’s struggle prompted Ntiwane to offer his best assistance to save the boy from drowning.
“The boy was successfully rescued, but Ntiwane lost the battle afterwards and perished from everyone’s sight.”
Divers managed to retrieve his body on Wednesday morning.
In a separate incident, Innocent Makhanya, 28, left home on February 27 and went fishing at the Nkomazi River next to Tonga.
He failed to return home and local farmers said they saw him fishing in the area around noon.
“His worried family members reported him missing to the police and a search and rescue team was dispatched to the scene.”
Mohlala said Makhanya’s body was also retrieved on Wednesday.
“Police in Mpumalanga call upon community members to refrain from fishing in the nearby rivers as the recent floods left the rivers swollen and dangerous.
“Despite drowning, some creatures that survive in water could hardly stand for the water current, which can force them to prey outside their comfort zones,” Mohlala warned.
Acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Zeph Mkhwanazi has also warned community members to avoid rivers as they are still flooded and dangerous.
“We cannot afford to lose more lives, one life lost is too many for us.”