The lodge where Parktown Boys’ High pupil Enoch Mpianzi drowned said the facilitators involved in the water activity had to assist three groups of boys to get out of the water and at no stage did they notice anyone being swept away.
Mpianzi drowned at the Crocodile River at the Nyati Bush and River Break lodge last week while participating in a water activity with his classmates without wearing any life jackets.
On Wednesday, the Eusebius McKaiser Show aired a testimony from one of the pupils who was in the same group as Mpianzi; he detailed his version of what that led to the 13-year-old’s drowning.
In the testimony, the fellow classmate claims there was no supervision from the school teachers or facilitators while performing the water activities. The pupil also claimed that at no point was a headcount done before they boarded the bus to the lodge and before any of the first activities on the first day.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the lodge claimed the scheduled time of arrival for the school was 11 am but the busses arrived more than three hours late.
“The scheduled and agreed program had to be adjusted to allow for the time lost due to the school busses’ late arrival.”
The lodge also claimed that the learners were supervised by camp facilitators and staff members during the stretcher-run activity.
The pupil claimed in his testimony that the strong river tides made it difficult to swim in the river, saying that he felt like he was going to die. The lodge, however, said the dangerous “environment” was created due to the learner’s “excitement” and “competitiveness” to finish first.
“The children participating in the activity were excited and competitive. The groups were eager to finish first and started to overtake other groups in the water. That created a dangerous situation as groups – despite clear instructions to the contrary – tended to move into the deep end of the river where the current was stronger than in the shallow water.”
The lodge said it had to help three groups get out of the water and at no point did it realise that there was any missing pupil missing until later that evening (Wednesday) when it realised during roll call that eight learners were unaccounted for.
However, in the pupil’s testimony, he claimed that he had alerted the facilitators and a school teacher that Mpianzi was swept away by the river but was not taken seriously.
“After the school contacted the parents of the eight unaccounted learners it became apparent on late Thursday morning that Enoch Mpianzi was missing. Internal standard emergency procedures were immediately instituted by the camp management, staff and members of the community. The SAPS Emergency Services were also contacted to assist with the search and rescue efforts,” the lodge’s statement read.
The lodge said it was informed by the police on Friday morning that Mpianzi’s body had been found.