Desiree Williams weeps as she tells how she bought her grandson, James Fisher, 14, his first fishing rod about a month ago. She says he was an avid fisherman. Picture: Mxolisi Madela
Desiree Williams weeps as she tells how she bought her grandson, James Fisher, 14, his first fishing rod about a month ago. She says he was an avid fisherman. Picture: Mxolisi Madela

Friends tell of fishing tragedy

By Bronwynne Jooste Time of article published Apr 28, 2011

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Friends of the teenage boy who drowned in Kalk Bay harbour early on Wednesday say he fell into the water while casting his line and was trying to swim to the beach when he disappeared.

James Fisher, 14, of Lotus River, had been fishing with friends Moegamat Moosa Adams, 18, and Shaandre Hendricks, 17.

Moegamat’s father, Riedewaan Adams, dropped the trio off just after 4am and was waiting in the car for them.

Moegamat said they found a spot at the end of the harbour and set up their camp at the lighthouse.

“James was still making jokes, saying ‘Byt, vissie, byt (Bite, little fish, bite)’. I cast my line, and he told me he was going to cast his further.”

They had been there for 15 minutes when James slipped as he was casting his line and fell in.

“He told me I must just get his fishing rod out. I asked if he needed help and he said he would be fine, I must worry about the stick.

“I told him to swim to the tyres, but he said he was going to swim through the harbour to the beach.”

Moegamat said James was still cracking jokes as he swam across.

“Then he was floating on his back, and I asked if I must help. He just said he was fine.”

But when James reached the section between the two harbour walls, he disappeared under the water.

Panicked, Moegamat and Shaandre alerted Riedewaan Adams, who asked people working at the harbour for help.

“We walked right across the harbour and couldn’t see anything,” Adams said. “At about 5am one of the guys who was helping called the rescue people.”

Police divers and helicopters, the NSRI and Metro EMS rescuers, combed the area, but failed to find any trace of James by Wednesday afternoon.

NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said it appeared that James had grown tired, battling to stay afloat in the choppy waters.

“He may have been swept out to sea by currents and may have succumbed to hypothermia. He is suspected to have become exhausted before disappearing,” said Lambinon.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut said police would continue to help with the search.

James lived with his grandmother, Desiree Williams. He had lost his parents, and Williams had been caring for him for about seven years.

Williams said James, who was in Grade 8 at Zeekoevlei High School, was an avid fisherman. He enjoyed fishing at the nearby vlei. She had bought him a fishing rod about a month ago, Williams said.

“Just before he left I told him to look after himself; he was my right-hand man here at home and when we go to the bank or shopping in Wynberg. And he went to the shop for everyone around here.”

The walls of Williams’ home are decorated with the awards James received at the Buck Road Primary School.

His aunt, Chrystal Moses, said James was known for his humorous nature.

“When I went to his school meetings, his teachers would say he put a smile on everyone’s face. He liked break- dancing, and was just a jolly person.”

Moses said James was a strong swimmer, but “the water was just too wild and high”.

“He can swim; he just didn’t realise how strong that current was,” she said. - Cape Argus

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