A group of boys were reportedly swimming in the Orange River in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday, 12 January, when suddenly water rushed from a higher area and swept one of them away, according to the police.


South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Captain Ursula Roelofse said the Maletswai police station received a report about a nine-year-old boy that drowned on Wednesday.

“It is alleged that the three boys age nine, eight and seven from Vula Vala, who were friends, decided to have a swim in a shallow area of the Orange River,” said Roelofse.

“Suddenly a very strong stream of water came down from a higher area and took one of the boys down the river where he drowned.”

The children were allegedly too scared to tell their parents what had happened.

The parents of the deceased showed up at one of his friends’ house to look for him – as they thought he had slept over, which is when they learned of the drowning.

“Sadly the parents got the news of their son that drowned and that the friends were too afraid to report the incident that happened,” said the police spokesperson.

The incident was reported to the SAPS search and rescue unit from Cradock, which arrived on Thursday, to help look for the nine-year-old’s body.

In an unrelated incident, a 53-year-old police diver Captain Pierre Marx drowned in the line of duty in Eastern Cape on 8 January.

Marx, along with his co-divers from the East London K9 Search and Rescue unit, responded to a complaint of drowning.

“It is during the rescue mission in the Horse Shoe Valley area that Captain Marx struggled with a strong current, sweeping him into the heavy stream,” said police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba.

Marx’s body was recovered in the early hours of Sunday morning, 9 January. According to the police, 21 people have died because of the floods in the province thus far.


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