Anguish as footballers die in Henties crash

One of the injured soccer players narrated the horrific accident, which took place on Saturday evening near Henties Bay.

01 March 2021 | Accidents

IRÉNE-MARI VAN DER WALT AND FRANCOISE STEYNBERG







SWAKOPMUND, WINDHOEK

Young soccer players from Henties Bay endured a horrific ordeal on Saturday night when an accident claimed the lives of two of their teammates, 17-year-old Fillemon Armas and 15-year-old Given Geingob, a few kilometers from their hometown.

The accident took place at about 20:30 when a blue Citi Golf apparently collided with the back of the white Ford single-cab bakkie the 12 soccer players were travelling in.

The footballers were on their way back from the Genesis football tournament in Swakopmund.

According to Erongo crime investigations coordinator, deputy commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, the bakkie veered off the road and overturned after the collision.

"Two footballers died and the others - all aged 15 – sustained injuries ranging from light to serious. Mervin Halweendo (15) was seriously injured.

"The driver of the bakkie, Desmond Gowaseb, was seriously injured and could not speak at the scene of the accident," Iikuyu said.

Broken pelvis, arm

The team’s manager was also a passenger in the bakkie and sustained light injures, the deputy commissioner said.

"The 42-year-old driver of the Citi Golf broke his pelvis and arm. His only passenger, a 36-year-old man, broke his right leg, but is stable," Iikuyu said.

The injured were taken to the Swakopmund State Hospital by ambulance, he added.

Teen narrates ordeal

A sorrowful cloud hung over the Swakopmund State Hospital yesterday morning where the injured were admitted.

"I’m very hurt," one of the injured soccer players, Jean-Carlo van Wyk, a Grade 9 pupil from the Kamwandi Combined School in Henties Bay, said.

"We drove to Swakopmund that morning to play football and the tyre burst," Van Wyk said, explaining why they drove back with another vehicle.

"When we had to drive back in the evening, there was not enough space in the minibus for everyone and our coach said the younger children had to ride in the minibus and the older children in the bakkie," he said.

Just moments before the accident, the team was in high spirits. "We were talking and singing and just after we started singing, I heard a ‘boom’ sound and saw we were in the air.

"I felt myself bumping my head and scraping my back and left shoulder. The next thing I knew, I was sitting up straight.

"I got up and saw everyone lying around. I was confused and uncertain about what happened and I then saw the blue car," Van Wyk said.

He said the driver of BMW called the ambulance, and they only later found out that two of their teammates had died.

Dirty linen

Natalia Amunyonge, mother of another injured footballer player Emmanuel, said her son borrowed someone's cellphone to let her know he was in hospital in Swakopmund.

She said she is unsure whether the boys are getting good treatment at the state hospital because the linen is dirty and she had to bring her child clean bedding, but could not do the same for all his teammates.

Van Wyk apparently asked for a clean blanket, but the dirty linen was still lying on the corner of his bed yesterday morning. Despite this, he praised the hospital for its good treatment.

He said he was the first of the team to be treated at the hospital.

A case of culpable homicide and reckless and negligent driving has been opened.

The deceased’s relatives have been informed, and the investigation continues.

Lost future

Meanwhile, Namibia Sports Commission chief administrator Simataa Mwiya only found out about the accident yesterday.

“It’s very unfortunate that this happened and a life lost is indeed painful for both parents and community members.

“For us in sports, it is painful as these are young boys who had a future for our sports.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we convey condolences to the bereaved family of the two and wish a speedy recovery to those still in hospital . We are really in deep grief with all family members,” he said.

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