Spotlight on drowning in dam

Chester Makana

The search for two people who drowned at Nandoni Dam near Thohoyandou, Limpopo, continued in earnest yesterday.

This follows an incident on Saturday in which three brothers drowned while on a picnic at the notorious dam.

Shoin Patel, 32, whose body was recovered, was buried at a Muslim cemetery in Thohoyandou on Sunday.

Safety at the dam, which is still under construction, has once again come under the spotlight.

This incident is the third within a year.

Last year two boys died while fishing from the banks of the dam and a fisherman died while fishing from a boat.

Ailwei Mushavhanamadi, spokesman for the police in the Vhembe district, said Patel and his two younger brother s, Mehbob, 28, and Muhsin, 22, were using their own canoe when the boat sank.

He said the three men were "just playing" in the dam when the incident happened at about midday.

He said friends who had gone on a picnic with them noticed that the boat was nowhere to be seen and jumped in to rescue them.

Mushavhanamadi said Patel was rescued, but was, unfortunately, certified dead on arrival at Tshilidzini Hospital. He said he had an injury to his forehead.

"We have opened an inquest docket following this incident while the search is still on for the other two whose bodies have not been recovered yet," he said.

Chief Jeffrey Ramovha said the picnic sites had life-savers to rescue those in danger.

He said the group was trained after the death of the two boys, but expressed concern that theylacked professional skills.

"Apart from the fact that they still need experience to execute their duties, they also need backup," Ramovha said.

Mushavhanamadi said they had requested manpower from rescuers in Gauteng to help with the search for the two missing bodies.

The speaker of the Limpopo legislature, Tshenuwani Farisani, yesterday sent messages of condolences to the families of the victims.