News / South Africa / Local News

Philippa Francis
2 minute read
7 Feb 2017
5:48 pm

Search for Mpumalanga boy snatched by crocodile continues

Philippa Francis

Police suspect the kids were swimming at the time of the attack, despite the boy's friends claiming they were herding cattle.

The police helicopter lands close to where the incident occured.

Hundreds of community members in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga have gathered at the scene where the search is on for a young boy who was allegedly snatched by a crocodile from the Ngwaritsi River in Jim Brown Village on Sunday.

Police spokesperson, Captain Joey Potgieter of the police diving unit, said:  “The team will continue the search for the young boy, believed to be between 10 and 14 years old, on Wednesday and have invited the mountain and dog unit to join them.

The boy was allegedly taken by the croc from the deep pool to the left of the pipe.

The boy was allegedly taken by the croc from the deep pool to the left of the pipe.

Initially, police spokesperson, Captain Phillip Fakude stated that, “Three children were swimming when one of them was grabbed by what they thought was a crocodile. They then ran away and raised the alarm. The boy is still missing and the search continues,” Fakude told Lowvelder.

According to Captain Joey Potgieter of the police diving unit, the victim was closer to 10 years old and he and his friends had allegedly been herding cattle across a shallow portion of the river and the two friends, who witnessed the incident, said the boy had been naked when he was attacked.

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“It is possible that they were, in fact, swimming. Just a few steps to the left of where they were in the water, is a deep pool. That is where the crocodile allegedly jumped out from, but we have found no trace of the croc nor the boy,” Potgieter said.

“The helicopter and drone have flown up and down the area. The divers and even some of the community members have also searched the river many times but we’ve had no luck in finding a body.”

Potgieter said there were at least 200 people at the scene, many of them community members. She could not confirm whether the family of the boy was present.

Community members helping search for the boy.

Community members helping search for the boy.

The incident was brought to media’s attention by Mr Robbie Williams, a safari guide in the Kruger National Park. His domestic worker, Ms Nomsa Mbuyane, lives close to where the attack happened. She heard about it from a friend, and told Williams about it when she went in to work on Monday morning.

He said because of the recent rain, and the smaller rivers filling up, these reptiles have access to widespread waters.

“Crocodiles are travelling diversely to find the ideal place where there is more food available,” he said.

– Caxton News Service

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