Cape Town sandbank collapse: Search for trapped children continues

Cape Town rescue services were desperately excavating debris late on Monday night in search of children who became trapped beneath it.

cape town sandbank collapse search for trapped children continues 1024x725 - Cape Town sandbank collapse: Search for trapped children continues

Distressing details surrounding the death of four Cape Town children on Monday 8 February have emerged, with police explaining that the young kids had been playing innocently near the N2 highway when they became engulfed by falling earth that resulted from a sandbank caving in directly on top of them. 

An urgent search and rescue operation was launched with the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue services deployed to try and retrieve the children from the collapsed ground. Tragically, only the lifeless bodies of the children were retrieved one by one, with responders continuously alerted to the possibility that more children may have become victim to the tragic accident. 

Cape Town children trapped beneath collapsed sandbank

The City’s Fire and Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse confirmed late on Monday night that they had retrieved the bodies of three of the children, and that the search for a fourth child – who was not confirmed dead at time of writing on Monday at 23:00 – had been launched after they learnt of more possible victims trapped inside the sandbank. 

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At least three bodies were pulled from the rubble as EMS teams searched for a fourth child. Photo: Veve

The lifeless bodies of the first two children were retrieved shortly after 18:00 – approximately three hours after the incident occurred at 15:10 – and the body of the third child was retrieved around 21:00.

South African Police Services (SAPS) spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said that police have opened an inquest docket into how the incident occurred. He said that the children were playing near the sand dunes when the bank caved in and trapped them within the debris. 

“Our crime scene experts, local police, law-enforcement agencies and emergency services are still on the scene at Borchards Quarry to retrieve the bodies of children who allegedly played on the sand dunes which caved in on them,” he said.

The stretch of N2 highway near the incident was closed for most of the afternoon, with rescue services desperately trying to access the children. It was reopened shortly before 22:30.

The ages of the deceased children is yet to be confirmed.

Latest in spate of tragedies  

There were a number of horrific incidents that claimed the lives of dozens of children over the weekend, with Steynsrus police in the Free State investigating a horrific drowning incident that took place on Sunday in which seven children and one adult drowned. 

“All seven children drowned and the police divers managed to recover six bodies of the children and the body of the driver, the body of the seventh child is still missing,” said SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele.

Additionally, several drowning incidents were reported by Cape Town’’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) over the weekend. NSRI sadly reported that a 12-year-old girl drowned at Glencairn Tidal Pool in Cape Town, and that a 13-year-old girl had also suffered serious injuries after falling from rocks into Clanwilliam Dam.

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