The family of the 9-year-old girl, Rudicia Gelant, whose body was retrieved over the weekend from a canal near Carew Road in Dysselsdorp outside Oudtshoorn, has been left heartbroken following the ordeal, a report says.
Rudicia was playing with a group of other children on Saturday when she slipped in the water and disappeared.
“Investigation into the disappearance of the victim indicates that a group of children were playing in the vicinity of the canal at about 10:30 yesterday (Saturday) when the girl slipped in the water and disappeared,” police spokesperson Sergeant Christopher Spies said in a statement.
Spies said another girl attempted to rescue Rudicia but she also slipped and fell into the water.
Bystanders noticed the incident and managed to rescue the second girl, he said.
#sapsWC An intensive #SAPS #SearchAndRescue operation resulted in the recovery of the body of a 9-year-old girl from a canal near Carew Road, Dysselsdorp outside Oudtshoorn on Sunday, 02 May 2021 at about 19:45 after se preumably drowned. NP https://t.co/4yJURcyyJS pic.twitter.com/oTxTV1KDPX
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) May 3, 2021
“Police responded to the scene and immediately established a search party comprising of members attached to the Dysselsdorp police, Southern Cape Police Diving Unit, Disaster Management and Oudtshoorn Law Enforcement. The team worked around the clock until the body of the victim was retrieved,” Spies said.
A News24 report said on Tuesday that Rudicia’s aunt Alicia Marnewick rushed to the scene when she heard her niece had fallen into the canal.
“I did not understand at first what was happening. I was in shock and could not believe that had happened,” Marnewick was quoted as saying.
Marnewick said she left while the search was still under way, as she panicked when police said they did not find her body.
Rudicia’s brother and stepfather later went to identified the body when is was discovered.
“We’re not alright; my family is still in shock. We are very emotional,” she said.
Police are still investigating.