By Matabeleland North Correspondent
A FIVE-YEAR OLD boy drowned after being swept away by a flooded stream in full view of his helpless grandmother and sibling in Dete outside Hwange.
The boy, Praise Mupande, was in an Early Child Development (ECD) class at Gulalembila Primary and resided in a nearby village where the incident occurred on Saturday afternoon.
He and his eight year old sibling and grandmother had gone to herd cattle on Saturday when it rained heavily in the area, flooding the Nyamatele stream.
The storm also damaged a classroom block and teachers’ cottage at the school.
Hwange district Civil Protection Unit (CPU) chairperson, Simon Muleya said a team of rescuers retrieved the boy’s body on Sunday after a search downstream.
“I wasn’t really around but the boy drowned while herding cattle around 4pm on Saturday. They were preparing to round up the cattle and when their grandmother went in the opposite direction. The two boys started playing in water unaware that the river was flooded.
The elder sibling tried in vain to rescue his brother and was also nearly swept away. He was rescued by the grandmother and sustained a fracture on the hip after hitting on some rocks.
The grandmother tried to look for the now minor but could not locate him.
They reported the matter to Dete Police Station whose officers searched for the body together with the CPU team and later retrieved it some 600 metres downstream the next day. The boy’s body had been blocked by some tree roots.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North, Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the incident.