7 children, 1 man drowned in farm river

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Police in the small farming town of Steynsrus in the Free State are investigating an inquest case after the drowning of eight people.

The incident was allegedly reported to police on Sunday at about 10:52 when a Honda Ballade was seen being swept away in a river at a farm.

The three adults managed to escape the car, but the driver went back into the river to save the children. Unfortunately, he drowned during his rescue attempt.

Free State SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele notes that 10 people in the vehicle – driver Tshokolo Hlongwane (26), two adult males Mohau Mokoena and Swartbooi Hlongwane and seven children aged between four and thirteen.

“The two males and the driver managed to get out of the vehicle and escape, but the driver went back into the water to try and save the children from drowning… [He] was also swept away by water,” informed Makhele.

“All seven children drowned and the police divers managed to recover six bodies of the children and the body of the driver, the body of the seventh child is still missing.”

Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen. Baile Motswenyane has offered condolences to the families affected by the tragic incident. “It is so heart breaking for any parent to lose a child in this manner.”