Zambezi River Drowning: Bodies Still Missing

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent

VICTORIA FALLS: The bodies of two soccer players who allegedly drowned in the Zambezi River while swimming Thursday had not been located by Saturday evening.

Elson Mathe (24) and Thamsanga Ncube (22) took a swimming expedition with two other friends Thursday afternoon when they were hit by a wave and drowned.

Both used to play for Victoria Falls-based Division One side Mosi Rovers before Ncube was loaned to Chicken Inn and then ZPC Hwange.

Their friends Lucas Sibanda and Brian Dlamini reportedly managed to swim to safety and alerted the victims’ families.

A team of rafting experts that set off to search for the bodies on Friday and Saturday failed to locate them.

A police sub-aqua unit from Bulawayo had not arrived in Victoria Falls Saturday to assist in the search.

Indications are that search teams might wait for the bodies to start floating, which usually happens between three and five days after drowning. This is after the rafting team which is experienced to maneuver every corner of the river failed to locate the bodies.

A kayaker, a name for rafting a safety guide, from the Rafting Association of Zimbabwe who preferred to remain anonymous said they had searched for the bodies downstream from gorge number six on Friday and Saturday but found nothing.

“We searched on Friday and again today but got nothing. We will have to wait for tomorrow to search again but we have to hope that the bodies will start floating after releasing gases and weight as they begin to decompose,” he said.

Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said the police sub-aqua team was still expected in Victoria Falls from Bulawayo.

“The ZRP sub aqua is on its way to Victoria Falls to attend to the incident,” she said.

On Thursday afternoon, the victims together with Sibanda and Dlamini went to Zambezi River gorge number 6 to swim.

They were hit by a huge wave of water about two hours later and the two failed to swim out.

Realising their friends had drowned, Sibanda and Dlamini rushed home to inform the deceased’s parents who reported the matter to the police.