A weekend outing for 18 friends ended in tragedy on Saturday evening when two of them drowned after their canoe capsized at Maguga Safari Dam in Esigodini.
Acting Matabeleland South police spokesperson Sergeant Loveness Mangena yesterday confirmed the incident and identified the deceased as Percy Ndlovu (29) and Clifford Msipha (22), both from Bulawayo’s Nkulumane high-density suburb.
“The incident occurred at around 5pm at Maguga Safari Dam in Esigodini. The two were at Maguga whiling up time with about 16 friends. While paddling, the canoe was hit by strong winds resulting in it capsizing. Percy Ndlovu’s body was retrieved the same evening while arrangements were made with the sub-aqua unit to retrieve Msipha’s body
yesterday (Sunday), but we are yet to get an update if it was finally retrieved. Ndlovu’s body was taken to the Esigodini Hospital mortuary.”
Witnesses told NewsDay that the sub-aqua unit was summoned the same evening, but failed to come “as they said they did not have lighting equipment to conduct the search in the dark”.
“They went there yesterday (Sunday) morning and retrieved the body at 10am, ” said a witness.
It also emerged that Ndlovu’s body was retrieved from the dam by members of the public.
“The canoe went for about 100 metres into the dam before it capsized. After it capsized, some members of the public and workers at the lodge had to run to the other side of the dam to try and rescue the two.
However, when they retrieved Ndlovu, he was already dead, efforts to resuscitate him failed,” said the witness.
Mangena urged members of the public to observe safety precautions when entering deep waters. “They should always make sure that they wear life jackets and if they do not know how to operate the canoe, they should seek assistance from those that know.
The lodge should also ensure that guests are assisted by those who know how to navigate the canoes,” she said.
In another incident, a 14-year-old boy was found dead in Ganda Dam in the Madabe area of Plumtree last Friday. Mangena said the boy had last been seen the previous day herding donkeys.
“On Friday, another 14-year-old juvenile discovered a body floating in the dam. Police attended the scene and the body was taken to Plumtree Hospital for post-mortem,” she said.