Teenager dies in canoeing accident

A terrible tragedy has befallen the Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club (SCRC) barely one month after it was recognised nationally for its efforts to promote the sport among Soweto children.

A 16-year-old paddler, Luzuko Sidzumo, this week drowned when his canoe capsized on the Orlando Dam, police said on Thursday.

According to Kliptown police spokesperson, Felicity Radebe: “The boys and their coach were doing rounds on the dam when the boat that the 16-year-old boy was using capsized and he drowned.

“It is alleged that the coach was teaching them to dive when the boy’s boat overturned. Divers searched for his body on Wednesday evening without any success,” said Radebe.

The search continued on Thursday morning, but the body had not been recovered by the time of going to print.

A devastated Rayno Armdorf, coach of the SCRC, said: “There were about 14 kids at practice on Wednesday and they were learning to dive when one of the boys’ boats just capsized and he disappeared into the water.

“The other boys who saw the incident were shocked and they are still shocked.
We can’t believe what has happened.”

Armdorf said a volunteer had already offered the club members counselling to help them come to terms with the tragedy.

Sidzumo was one of 60 affiliated members of the SCRC, which is based at the Orlando Power Park Dam in Soweto.

Most of the club’s members are from poor communities living in squatter camps around Orlando.

The club made headlines last month when it was recognised for the work it is doing for the community of Soweto.

The SCRC came third in the Murray & Roberts Jack Cheetham Memorial Award competition.

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