Burst water pipe kills toddler, baby
"NEVER underestimate the might of water," were the words of a distraught father describing how water gushing from a burst underground pipe killed his three-year-old daughter and destroyed his shack in Mamelodi, Pretoria.
"NEVER underestimate the might of water," were the words of a distraught father describing how water gushing from a burst underground pipe killed his three-year-old daughter and destroyed his shack in Mamelodi, Pretoria, yesterday.
Another child, a four-month-old baby, died later at Mamelodi Hospital.
Tshwane emergency services spokesman Johan Pieterse said two children died and a further seven people were injured.
Residents of Phomolong informal settlement in Mamelodi East said the incident started like an earthquake.
Mike Mashiane, 29, and his wife Vinolia Sikele, 30, had erected their shack over the pipe five years ago. They had been staying there with their two children, Tintswalo, 3, and Retsibile, 10.
Mashiane had just gone to bed at about midnight when the incident occurred.
"I was in bed for about 15 minutes when I heard a loud sound that lasted about five seconds, and my house was gone. The whole place was dark and I heard my son screaming for help, and I just stretched my arm and luckily grabbed his hand. I managed to pull him to safety.
"I did not know what happened to my daughter because I could not find her."
Mashiane sustained facial and body bruises.
Among the injured was Thabiso Shabangu, 12, a Grade 6 pupil who sustained a cut to the forehead and a gash to the right arm.
He told Sowetan how he was lifted into the air by swirling water and landed metres from his shack.
"I thought it was the end of the world," he said.
Moses Moagi, 36, said he managed to escape with his wife and two children through a window.
"I am happy that my plan to instal burglar bars failed to materialise at the end of last month. I believe we would have been trapped in the flooded shack. I thank God that I postponed the plan."
Johannes Matlou whose shack was also destroyed, said he heard a loud noise outside and went to inspect.
"I just saw a black cloud of mud thrown into the air. I ran back into the house to salvage some of my belongings, but it was too late. I have lost everything, including my identity document."
The water destroyed four shacks and flooded many others.
The community have accused their local councillor of not fulfilling his promise to relocate them to a safer area.