Body of drowned N Cape boy found

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF RE­PORTER

AF­TER a two-day search, the body of a nine-year-old boy from Bonita Park, Hartswa­ter was found in a canal yes­ter­day.

Melville Isaacs was last seen on Satur­day af­ter­noon, when he was play­ing at the canal in Bonita Park with five other chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion, the boys were sit­ting on the edge of the canal, “just wet­ting their feet”, when Melville fell into the canal and was washed away by the cur­rent.

Po­lice were called to the scene and a search and res­cue op­er­a­tion com­menced, with com­mu­nity and fam­ily mem­bers also join­ing in and search­ing around the clock for the boy.

Melville’s body was dis­cov­ered in the canal by a com­mu­nity mem­ber, about one kilo­me­tre from where he fell in, at around 2pm yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

The com­mu­nity mem­ber who found the body no­ticed the child’s red un­der­pants and alerted the po­lice.

A fam­ily mem­ber yes­ter­day de­scribed Melville, who was a Grade 3 pupil at CW Kies Pri­mary School, as a “lov­ing, happy child, who was much loved by his fam­ily and com­mu­nity”.

Po­lice spokesper­son, Cap­tain Ser­gio Kock, yes­ter­day con­firmed that the po­lice in Hartswa­ter have opened an in­quest into the death of a nine-year-old boy.

“The body was re­trieved by the SAPS Div­ing Unit at around 2pm to­day (yes­ter­day). A for­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with the next of kin is be­ing ar­ranged.

“It is be­lieved that the boy and some friends went to cool them­selves off in the wa­ter canal on Satur­day, when the child dis­ap­peared un­der the wa­ter. Po­lice divers had been search­ing for the boy ever since. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues,” Kock said

Kock urged mem­bers of the pub­lic to take pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures to avoid drown­ings and also pro­vided some facts about drown­ings.

“Peo­ple can drown in any­thing in­clud­ing buck­ets, baths, ponds, la­goons, canals, swamps, the sea, dams, rivers, in pad­dling or swim­ming pools and even in drains. Drown­ing is the sec­ond big­gest cause of ac­ci­den­tal death among young chil­dren and is a silent killer, as chil­dren do not make any noise when it hap­pens. A child can drown within 30 sec­onds in as lit­tle as four cen­time­tres of wa­ter,” Kock said.

He also gave some tips on drown­ing pre­ven­tion.

“Al­ways su­per­vise chil­dren in or near wa­ter and give them un­di­vided at­ten­tion, even if they know how to swim. Never leave small chil­dren unat­tended in the bath. Ig­nore the phone or door­bell or take the child with you.”

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