Boat carrying more than 70 capsizes on Roodeplaat Dam

A ferry boat carrying 74 people capsized on Roodeplaat Dam on Wednesday afternoon, Tshwane emergency services (EMS) said.

EMS spokesperson Johan Pieterse said one passenger suffered a serious leg laceration and was taken to hospital.

Rescue divers were still searching the water at the northern end of the dam, about 40m from the dam wall, at about 6pm. A rescue dog was also on scene.

“On arrival ... [EMS] found 42 people ashore and they were transported back to base. The others had already gone with their various other transport,” he said.

Pieterse said the people on board the two-levelled ferry—called the Pisces—had joined an open function.

He said they did not all know each other so it was difficult to verify that everyone had reached the shore safely.

“There is no name list so we can’t check if everyone is safe or not,” he said. And, according to the owner of the boat, there were no vehicles left standing at the launch site.

“We will still carry on with the search, although the owner did say everyone had been accounted for,” he said.

Pieterse said the Pisces capsized and overturned at about 2.45pm.

“It looks like the boat went on to rocks and ... water came in due to the weight of the people on the boat. It capsized.

“It was quite a long distance from where it originally started.”

He said personnel had not treated any children. “When we arrived all we could see were grown-ups,” said Pieterse.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Nick Dollman said two people had been transported to hospital. One of them lost a wheelchair when the boat capsized, he said.

Captain Lucas Sithole said only goods had been lost in the incident.

It was not immediately known what had caused the boat to capsize.

Pieterse said the boat had been on the dam “for many years”. He was not sure all safety regulation measures had been in place.

“We also heard that there was only one lifejacket on the boat, which is a huge concern for us,” Pieterse said.—Sapa



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