Home News Parktown pupil not first child to drown at camp

Parktown pupil not first child to drown at camp

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“The training camp was attended by several schools from across the country, including Adamantia and Northern Cape High School from Kimberley.”

The mother of a city Grade 12 pupil, Mellony Sias, who drowned during a school hockey training camp, is seen holding on to a picture of her daughter during a memorial service that was held 10 years ago. File image

A GRADE 12 pupil at Adamantia High School in Kimberley also lost her life 10 years ago at the same camp in Brits where Parktown Boys’ High pupil Enoch Mpianzi drowned last week.

The DFA reported in April 2010 that the police in Brits in the North West had retrieved the body of the Northern Cape Grade 12 pupil, who drowned after attending a hockey training camp.

Mellony Sias, from Adamantia High School, was reported to be taking part in the camp which was held at the Nyati Sports School situated between Brits and Rustenburg.

“The training camp was attended by several schools from across the country, including Adamantia and Northern Cape High School from Kimberley.”

According to the report, while the exact details surrounding her death were yet to be confirmed, it is believed that Mellony was taking part in a team-building exercise that was supervised by two instructors from the Nyati School, when her dinghy overturned and she disappeared under the water.

“An eyewitness spotted her hand before she was submerged in the water. She was reported missing and her body was found drifting about 10 kilometres from where she was last seen.”

Adamantia High School principal at the time, Jeremy Hendrikse, who travelled to Brits to investigate the incident, stated that it was a tragedy and a great loss to the school.

“It is the first time that we have lost a pupil in a sporting event,” he was quoted as saying. “Sias was someone who gave her all – whether it was on the sports field or in the classroom. The school and school governing body is providing the necessary support for the family and pupils of the school.

“The school has arranged for her parents to travel to the sports school so that her body can be identified. We will also pay the costs of bringing her body back to Kimberley.”

According to information received by the DFA at the time, it appeared as if the event that led to her death was not part of the training camp.

It was also alleged at the time that no safety gear, including life jackets and helmets, were provided. The teacher of at least one school apparently refused to allow her children to take part in the event.

Last week, Parktown Boys’ High School pupil Enoch drowned after a raft he and fellow pupils had built in an exercise apparently capsized in fast-moving water.

After the exercise the teachers, unaware that Enoch was missing, sent the schoolboys on a hike and took them to dinner, before the youngsters had a sleep out in the bush, according to a statement issued by Parktown Boys’ High School on Friday last week.

“Late on Thursday morning it became apparent that a boy had gone missing from the camp,” the statement from the school read.

On Friday morning, police divers located his body in the Crocodile River near Brits.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi spoke to the media just hours after Enoch’s distraught mother formally identified his body at the river’s edge.

Just a day before, Enoch had headed with his classmates to the Nyati Sports School, unable to sleep the night before because he had been so excited to attend.

The boys were taking part in an exercise where they had to make rafts to ferry an apparent injured person across the river. The river at the time was said to have been flowing strongly because of recent rains.

Lesufi said that it was unclear if the pupils were wearing life vests during the raft-building exercise or if there were lifeguards watching over them at the time.

On the Nyati Sports School’s Facebook page there are photographs of schoolchildren taking part in the raft-building exercise and not wearing life vests.

The lodge has referred all questions to the education department.