Roosboom residents were left in shock after the sad passing of two young boys whose lives were claimed in two separate drowning incidents recently.
On February 1, nine-year-old Samkelo Lusanda Mkhize drowned after experiencing difficulties while swimming in a dam in the Roosboom area.
Then, on February 4 at about 5.30pm, a mere three days later, 13-year-old Nkosingiphile Sipheshile Mazibuko drowned while swimming in another dam in Roosboom.
On both occasions, the body was recovered by officers from the Ladysmith K9 Search & Rescue Unit.
The following safety measures can be used to prevent drownings:
* Do not dive into shallow water – many paraplegics broke their necks by diving into shallow pools and dams.
* Never leave a young child unattended near water and never make a child responsible for another child – not even for five minutes. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
* If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing a drowning or permanent disability.
* Swimming aids, such as water wings or noodles, are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used instead of approved flotation devices.
* One cannot gauge the strength of flowing water or gauge where strong undercurrents are just by looking. Rather be cautious and remain close to the edge of the dam where your feet still touch the ground.
* Unseen danger may lurk beneath the water. This can include debris such as tree stumps or branches which can knock you off your feet or trap you under the water. Slippery and loose rocks can also pose a danger.
* Do not attempt to cross with vehicles, since flash floods are known to carry vehicles away too. Small children should be kept away from rivers and streams, and must always be within eyesight, as it takes only a few seconds for a child to slip into the water and drown.
* Rest often while swimming so that you will have sufficient strength to swim to the side if you get tired or get into difficulty in the water.
* Always carry fresh drinking water with you and drink the water often so you do not become dehydrated.