POTCHEFSTROOM – The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, is concerned after provincial police divers attended to five alleged drowning incidents recently.
In the first incident in Brits on Friday, 11 November 2022, the body of an unknown female was recovered at Klipkop in the Crocodile River at about 17:00 after she allegedly fell into the river and drowned.
In a second unrelated incident on Saturday, 12 November 2022 in Koster, a 15-year-old boy was recovered in a dam, next to a school at about 14:20.
A third incident was reported in Jouberton on the same day (12 November 2022), but the police divers only found the body of a female two days later. It is alleged that the lady was swept away by flood water in the Jagerspruit, when she tried to cross the stream.
A fourth recovery of an unknown body which was in a state of decomposition, was made on Monday afternoon, 14 November 2022, in Boitekong at Sunrise Park at the Hex River.
The last unidentified body of a male was recovered in Brits on Thursday afternoon, 17 November 2022, in the Crocodile River. It took the divers who were assisted by the Air Wing, three days to retrieve the body which was spotted through utilisation of a drone due to crocodiles that were visible in the water close to the body.
The public is advised to take heed and apply the following safety tips:
•Never swim alone.
•Don’t duck and push others into or around water.
•Ensure that water depths are appropriate for swimming and diving.
•Never dive into muddy or unclear water.
•Do not swim during electrical storm.
•Do not enter the water unless you are a strong swimmer.
•When swiming in dams, check the edge of the dam for soft mud. Move slowly to the water, if the ground gives way-Retreat.
•Weeds may occur in all environment and should be avoided whenever possible. If caught in a weed or kelp, swimmers should remain calm, keep all movement to a minimum and remove the weed or kelp before swimming out.
•Be careful of currents and undertows in fast flowing river.
•Extreme care should be taken when entering rivers due to changing conditions.
The following observation are important when you want to cross a river or if you want to swim in a river, lake or dam:
•Before entering the water, check the strength of the current.
•When caught in a fast flowing river, travel feet first, this will absorb the head and body from serious injury.
•When you fall into water, unable to stand and reach the side quickly, you should:
Try not to swallow water.
Keep your head above the water by kicking as if you are cycling and by paddling with your hands at the same time.
•When you swim in open water it’s much harder than swimming in the still waters of a pool. This means you may tire faster and that can lead to trouble very quickly.
•When swimming in rivers or lakes, the murky water can make it difficult to find people who go under.
•If you swim in a place with a strong current, such as where two rivers meet, it can be easy to be pulled under and swept away.
•It’s important when you’re out on the water to wear an appropriately fitting life jacket in case you get tossed unexpectedly into the water. This goes for children too.
•Make sure you check the weather conditions on a day you will be out, and always make sure you have a cell phone handy as well as someone with you who can perform CPR if needed.
•Talk to your children about the dangers of being in open water and tell them what to do in case of an emergency
General safety tips:
•The most important rule of water is that everyone should respect water and its environment.
•Always read and obey advisory notices, it is for your safety.
•Know where to get assistance.
•Alcohol and water safety does not mix, alcohol abuse impairs your senses and judgment. It is irresponsible to put others at risk while you are supposedly having fun.
•If you are not trained to lifesaving or rescue techniques, use any suitable object (e.g. an empty cooler box) to assist a person in difficulty and call for help.
•Inflatable car tubes and lilo’s are dangerous because they give you a false sense of safety and security.
•Young children should be constantly supervised when near water, even during bath time.
•The most dangerous time at the picnic, is upon arrival when parents are unpacking and children venture to discover their surroundings. Children have an irresistible attraction to water.
•Do not drive through floodwaters with your vehicle, washed-out roadway can be hidden by muddy water, allowing a vehicle to drop into unexpected deep water.
•Do not stand up to cast in small boats.
•Only cast when it is safe to do so.
•Keep the boat well balanced.
•Be careful when wading in fast flowing rivers.
•Obey the fishing regulations.
•Always wear non-slip footwear on rocks.
•When anchored, keep a knife nearby in order to cut the anchor rope when necessary.
Source: South African Police Service