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Friends try to rescue boy who drowns in Apies River

11-year-old Karabo fell from bridge

The scene where the body of 11-year-old Karabo Modimole who fell into the Apies River was recovered.
The scene where the body of 11-year-old Karabo Modimole who fell into the Apies River was recovered.
Image: Keletso Mkhwanazi

The search and rescue efforts to find an 11-year-old boy who fell in the Apies River on Monday ended in tears as his family watched rescuers carrying his lifeless body on a stretcher yesterday. 

Karabo Modimole was among six boys from Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, who went for a swim on Monday when Karabo allegedly tripped from the Temba Bridge and fell into the river. His body was found by the rescue team from Temba police and Tshwane Emergency Services around midday yesterday after a 36-hour search. 

His family had to identify the body on the spot. 

Karabos uncle Solly said his younger sister (Karabos mom) called him at about 6pm on Monday to inform him of the incident and rescuers were called immediately, but the search could not be launched as it was too dark and the water was moving too fast.

My nephews friends told us that they were on their way to swim at Tshwane Bridge when he tripped and fell into the river. They said they tried to rescue him but they couldnt because the water was too high and after a few minutes they could no longer see him, he said.

He said the family didnt sleep that evening, hoping that Karabo would be found alive.

I dont have much to say.  It is painful. I am just glad that we have found closure as a family and we will be able to bury one of our own, he said.

He said the boys who had witnessed the horrific incident needed counselling.

A local resident, Mpumi Letswalo, 27, said recreational places were scarce in the area and many kids went to the river to entertain themselves.

We need sports facilities, libraries and recreation centres in Hamaskraal. We are not blaming anyone but such an incident could have been avoided if children had options of places to entertain themselves, she said.

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