A 35-year-old man from Desneyville fatally drowned at Rate Payers Bay on the Vaal Dam in the Free State on Saturday.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), who also operate in inland rivers, dams and lakes, responded to a call of drowning in progress on the Vaal Dam on Saturday 15 June.
Also responding to the call were emergency services personnel from Free State Government Health EMS, Sasolburg Fire and Rescue Services, the SA Police Services and Police Dive Unit and a Police K-9 Search and Rescue squad.
Sadly their joint efforts were unable to save the man, whose body was recovered from the frigid waters by police divers. It is believed that the man was aboard a canoe on the lake which capsized. His attempts to swim to shore were then frustrated by 11 degree water.
“At 10h35, Saturday, 15th June, NSRI Vaal Dam duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Rate Payers Bay, Vaal Dam,” said Jake Manten, NSRI Vaal Dam station commander.
“Our NSRI rescue runner was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers responded in our rescue vehicle and Free State Government Health EMS, Sasolburg Fire and Rescue Services, the SA Police Services and Police Dive Unit and a Police K-9 Search and Rescue squad responded.
“On arrival on the scene a search commenced for a 35 year old local man from Deneysville who had disappeared under water after the canoe he was on, while retrieving fishing lines, had sunk and he got into difficulty.
“It suspected that cold water temperature of approximately 11 degrees may have contributed to the man getting into difficulty while attempting to swim to shore.
“During a Police dive search operation the body of the man was located and recovered by Police divers and sadly declared deceased by paramedics.”
A death inquest has been opened by the South African Police Service, which is standard practice in any ‘unnatural’ death.
“Condolences are conveyed to family and friends of the deceased man,” Manten added.
Police have opened an inquest docket and the body of the deceased man has been taken into the care of the Department of Health Forensic Pathology Services.