Search intensifies for boys swept away in Eastern Cape river

Port Elizabeth – Rescue teams will continue with the search on Friday for two little boys who were swept away by a strong current in a river near Mount Fletcher, Eastern Cape police said on Friday.

Boitumelo Lebenya, 8, and Masixole Molekoa, 6, have been missing since Wednesday. 

Earlier this week, rescue teams recovered the bodies of three boys and a girl who drowned when they were swept away by a strong current at Freyistata River. The children were identified as Sinekhaya Mfolozi, 7, Sixolile Ndleleni, 7, Elomso Ntsimbi, 8, and Hlalanathi Mbuleka, 6.

Police spokesperson, Captain Khaya Tonjeni, said a seasoned and experienced team of search and rescue members assisted on Thursday in searching a large part of the Moyane River and smaller river for the two missing children but without success. 

Tonjeni said family members, many community members, as well as local SAPS members also assisted in a full-scale search. The learners were trying to cross the river after school and are from the same locality. 

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape extended its condolences to the families of four learners who drowned. Provincial spokesperson, Gift Nqondi, said that the governing party had directed all spheres of government to give the families of the learners all the necessary support. 

"On behalf of the Eastern Cape PEC, we extend our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased learners and wish them peace and comfort during this difficult time."  

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the Eastern Cape also offered its condolences to the families and demanded answers from the Department of Education and Matatiele Municipality.  

"We demand to know why in 2019, young children are not able to go to school closer to home. We demand to know in 2019 why there is no adequate infrastructure to accommodate for transport for young children to and from their school. Long has the community of Matatiele called for a bridge to be built over the river. Their cries have fallen on deaf ears," said Yoliswa Yako, an EFF MP.  

According to The Daily Dispatch, a group of at least 17 learners had tried to cross the Freyistata River. and got swept away. Eleven learners were reportedly rescued by community members. 

African News Agency (ANA)

police - Search intensifies for boys swept away in Eastern Cape river

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