Drowning tragedy at Nagle Dam | SASCOC - SASCOC

Drowning tragedy at Nagle Dam

The Nagle Dam community in KwaZulu-Natal was plunged into mourning this week as news of the shock drowning of two teenagers came to light.

Sanele Ninela and Siyabonga Madondo, both 17, were trying to paddle on the dam on Wednesday, but their boat capsized barely 50 metres from the shore. Witnesses on the banks of the dam immediately notified the dam authorities and police navy divers arrived at the scene later, but had to call off the search in the dark to resume on Thursday morning. They have since recovered both bodies.

Reports from the area suggest that the teenagers arrived at the dam after lunch, and picked up a K2 kayak off the ground next to the local Lembethe Canoe Club racks. Ninela had apparently attended one of the daily supervised training sessions in the past, but neither of the boys were affiliated to Canoeing South Africa (CSA) or the club, and had not undertaken any proficiency tests. The Lembethe Canoe Club has a signed up membership of over 50 paddlers, and holds regular supervised training in the afternoons with a CSA appointed coach.

Local CSA development coach Lucas Mthalane was very upset upon hearing the news, and said, “Everyone here knows we train in the afternoons. I have seen Sanele once when I helped him last week to paddle. He put on a┬álife┬ájacket and managed to do okay. I have never met Siyabonga ÔÇô they are both not from this area.”

CSA Development Coordinator Martin Dreyer┬áwas devastated by the news. “It’s especially sad when someone loses their life having fun, and our condolences go out to their families and the community at large,”┬ásaid Dreyer afterwards.┬á”Safety has been my number one concern with all development clubs across South Africa,” he added.

“CSA doesn’t support or pay any development coach who doesn’t sign the coaches contract, which stipulates that all paddlers must wear kayaking jackets whenever they are on the water. Lucas is a very responsible person who has passed his swift water rescue course, and had┬áone of┬áthese young boys joined┬áone of┬áhis organised sessions, this tragedy would have been avoided. We will need to┬áinvestigate further though,┬áto put systems in place that ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

CSA General Manager Graham Bird was equally shocked at the incident. “It’s devastating for the boy’s families, who lost their sons to a recreational activity. All paddlers will┬ábe saddened by this news and our thoughts go out to the people close to Sanele and Siyabonga.┬áIt appears this incident was unavoidable┬ádue to non-members paddling outside of the club’s training sessions,┬áand is ultimately why we urge aspiring paddlers to join their local club and go through the proficiency process before they take up canoeing by themselves.”