Fam­i­lies mourn crash boys

Joy over school prizes turns to grief

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

THURS­DAY was a proud day for Hen­rico van Zyl, 14, and Hay­dro Adams, 10, pupils at the Pe­tra Gedink Pri­mary School near Ceres.

At prize-giv­ing Hen­rico was awarded a sci­ence prize, while Hay­dro won the award for best rugby player.

Felic­ity van Zyl, Hen­rico’s mother, said: “I was so proud of him. On Thurs­day night he won a school award for nat­u­ral sciences and was go­ing to high school next year. He left home so happy.”

But Hen­rico will never go to high school – he and Hay­dro were the two pupils killed yes­ter­day when the bakkie car­ry­ing 13 chil­dren to the last day of school col­lided with a trac­tor on a farm near Ceres.

A third boy, Elzeno Visser, 12, suf­fered a pos­si­ble skull frac­ture and was flown to the Red Cross Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, where spokes­woman Lauren O’con­nor-may said he was in a se­ri­ous but sta­ble con­di­tion.

Six other chil­dren suf­fered mi­nor to mod­er­ate in­juries.

Po­lice spokesman War­rant Of­fi­cer Novem­ber Fi­lan­der said the bakkie, full of farm chil­dren, was trav­el­ling down Wa­boom River Road tak­ing the chil­dren to Pe­tra Gedink Pri­mary School in Breeriv­ier.

The bakkie al­legedly tried to over­take a trac­tor but in­stead col­lided with the ve­hi­cle.

The 13 school chil­dren were flung from the bakkie on to the paved road. Hen­rico and Hay­dro died on the scene.

Elande Europa, prin­ci­pal of the school, said six chil­dren were rushed to the Worces­ter Provin­cial Hos­pi­tal but re­leased later af­ter be­ing treated for mi­nor in­juries.

Two adults in­side the bakkie suf­fered mi­nor to mod­er­ate in­juries and a third, the school’s gen­eral as­sis­tant, Aubrey de Kock, had a se­ri­ous frac­ture.

Just hours af­ter the crash, Hen­rico and Hay­dro’s fam­i­lies vis­ited the boys’ school to pick up the presents they were to have been given at the break-up day party.

Hen­rico’s mother clutched her son’s Christ­mas gift as tears flowed down her face. She said the boys were meant to take the school bus but de­cided to go on the bakkie to get there sooner.

“He left home so happy and said: ‘Mommy, I’m go­ing to get a big present from the school to­day.’ He couldn’t wait to come home with his present.”

Van Zyl broke down as she de­scribed the ac­ci­dent scene.

“I rushed there and the boys were scat­tered across the road. I recog­nised his clothes but be­fore I could run over to him the po­lice stopped me and said they couldn’t let me see him like that. I cried so much when I had to tell his older brother Den­ver and three-year-old sis­ter Tas­min their brother was dead. We’ll never be the same with­out him.”

At the Adams house­hold, Hay­dro’s mother, Mag­dalena, and his brother Clin­ton, 8, were look­ing at the rugby awards her son had won.

“He was a great rugby player and loved all kinds of sport. At the award cer­e­mony he was the best rugby player. I didn’t go and that is some­thing I will al­ways re­gret. I still can’t be­lieve he’s dead,” said Adams as Clin­ton started to cry.

Ed­u­ca­tion MEC Don­ald Grant vis­ited the fam­i­lies and pledged to help them with the funeral ar­range­ments.

Fi­lan­der said a case of cul­pa­ble homi­cide had been opened.

kowthar.solomons@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: COURT­NEY AFRICA

GRIEV­ING: Felic­ity van Zyl, mother of Hen­rico van Zyl, hold­ing an early Christ­mas present meant for her son.

TRAGIC: Hen­rico van Zyl was killed when the bakkie he and 13 other school­child­ren were trav­el­ling in col­lided with a trac­tor near Ceres.

PROMIS­ING STAR: Hay­dro Adams had won the school’s best rugby player award the evening be­fore he was killed.

PIC­TURE: COURT­NEY AFRICA

HEART­BRO­KEN: Mag­dalena Adams said she can­not ac­cept the death of her son Hay­dro who was killed on his way to school yes­ter­day.

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