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Mahalapye River claims lives of 2 pupils

PALAPYE: Two primary school going boys have become victims of drowning in two separate incidents at the Mahalapye River in a space of 10 days following the recent downpours.

Both incidents occurred this month in Mahalapye with the first tragedy taking place near Xhosa ward on January 9 and the other at Tshikinyega 10 days later.

The 11-year-old victim, who was a Standard Five pupil at Xhosa Primary School, was with six of his classmates when he met his fate. 

Superintendent Isaac Mamadi of Mahalapye Police Station said the six boys went to the river for a swim after school. He narrated that when they got to the river, the deceased was the first to jump into the water and he drowned. Mamadi said as the boy drowned, his companions got scared and rushed home to report.

He said when they responded to the report it was already late. 

“The water hole was too deep, but we managed to recover his lifeless body and the boy was certified dead upon arrival at Mahalapye Hospital,” Mamadi said. 

In an identical incident, a Standard Seven pupil at Tshikinyega Primary School drowned at a different point in the same river. The boy, also aged 11, went out with a group of his age mates for a Saturday swim at the river.

They went to a spot known as Mowana adjacent to the A1 Highway where a certain construction company

was mining river sand for their project in the village. The water had lodged in the deep hole after the river stopped flowing.

The boy drowned immediately upon getting inside the water and disappeared. His friends ran back home to report.

The police with the help of Botswana Defence Force and Fire Department SCUBA divers managed to recover his lifeless body from the water. He was also certified dead upon arrival at the Mahalapye Hospital. 

Mamadi said owing to the recent drowning incidents, the police have embarked on informative workshops around the village schools to sensitise school children about the dangers of the river. 

“We advise parents and teachers to take care of children and ensure they stay away from the river. We are still expecting more rains and this is a worrying problem, if we don’t supervise our children the worst could happen,” he said.

He also warned members of the community who might be tempted to swim as a result of the scorching weather to stay away from the waterholes that they have no knowledge of.

“These are dirty waters, we don’t know how deep they are or what lies beneath, people must just refrain from getting into these water holes,” he said.




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