SOUTH AFRICA — A tragic river canoe accident took place on 18th June, on the Crocodile River between the Lion Park and Hartbeespoort Dam. The incident, which involved 26 people – 20 tourists from Singapore and 6 local river guides, resulted in two fatalities and multiple injuries.
According to a statement issued by the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), they received the call for assistance at 2.42 pm.
In response, NSRI Hartbeespoort Dam rescue swimmers, medics, the Strategic Rescue Unit (SRU), South Africa (SA) Police Services, and a paramedic from the Lion Park were dispatched to the accident location.
Preliminary reports suggest that 8 of the tourists capsized in 4 canoes during the expedition. On receiving the alert, the river guides swiftly initiated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) efforts on a male and a female tourist. Meanwhile, six other tourists and two river guides found themselves in distress in the water.
Upon reaching the scene, emergency services continued the CPR for the two tourists and rescued the remaining individuals from the water. Despite extensive resuscitation attempts, the male and female tourists could not be revived and were declared deceased by the paramedics.
Two river guides, unconscious upon their rescue, received immediate medical treatment. Paramedics stabilised their conditions before they were transported to a local hospital for further care. They are currently recovering. The six additional tourists rescued were treated on the spot for minor injuries and were subsequently released.
The bodies of the deceased have since been transferred to Government Health Forensic Pathology Services for further investigation. Of the remaining individuals, twelve tourists were unharmed.
NSRI has commended the Lion Park and Safaris staff for their assistance during this incident. The tour operator is currently providing support to the affected tourists and families in collaboration with local authorities.
An Inquest docket has been opened by the police, indicating that an inquiry into the cause and circumstances of the deaths will be conducted.
The NSRI expressed their heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, adding, “Our thoughts are with all involved in this difficult time.”