Tragedy strikes as boy (12) drowns in Goreangab Dam

15 September 2021 | Accidents

Tanja Bause


“What does he look like? Is he whole, is he whole? Please tell me the fish did not bite and eat him," Miriam Simon said just minutes after the body of 12-year-old David Sheya was pulled from Goreangab Dam.

Sheya drowned on Monday after he and two friends – also aged 12 – walked from their house in 7de Laan in Otjomuise to the dam to go swimming.

"He had a pink thing [plastic flotation ring] and told his friends that he would go into the water first and they could use it after him. But he fell a few metres from the shore.

“His friends tried to throw the floatation ring to him, but he couldn’t catch it. They then tried to reach out their hands to him, but he was too far away. Then they ran to fetch a stick. That stick was too short and he drowned. They then ran home to seek help,” she said.

She described him as a quiet boy who was in Grade 6 at Otjomuise Primary School.

"His mother sells sweets and vetkoeks to support the family. She has four children, of which he was the only son. She is not here today because she has to make money so the rest of the kids can eat.

"I called the police on Tuesday when I heard about the accident and they said they could not do anything and gave me the diver's number,” Simon said.

Percy Openshaw of Crisis Response International went diving yesterday in search of the boy’s body. After 40 minutes, he found the body at a depth of 39 metres.

"The water was terribly cold and I could not see anything,” he said, adding that he had retrieved another body – that of a 16-year-old boy – just last Friday. The boy had drowned the previous afternoon.

Openshaw is the only diver who retrieves bodies from the dam.

"When I heard about the boy, I called all the divers in the country to see if they could assist me because the water is so deep and dark, but everyone said no."