boy Tugela River

A ten-year-old boy was swept away at the Tugela River. Image @SAPoliceService Twitter

Search on for young boy who drowned in crocodile-infested river

A ten-year-old boy was reportedly swept away and drowned while swimming with friends in the crocodile-infested Tugela River.

boy Tugela River

A ten-year-old boy was swept away at the Tugela River. Image @SAPoliceService Twitter

The search is still on for the body of a ten-year-old boy, Siyamthanda Sibisi, swept downstream in the Tugela River, KwaZulu-Natal. 

The 10-year-old was swept away on Monday 9 January. 


According to private security, Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), residents searched for the boy for a week along the river banks.  

Two days later, fishermen reported seeing a child’s body floating in the water. They did not enter the water fearing for their safety as that part of the river is known to be infested with crocodiles.

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After a brief search, the scene was located. It was confirmed that the sighting was the partly eaten carcass of a cow. 

boy Tugela River
The eaten carcass spotted during the search operation. Image: Reaction Unit South Africa.

On Monday, 16 January, the boy’s family reportedly contacted Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) to seek assistance. The Pilot & Crew kitted up with floatation devices & flew 84 kilometres out to the Tugela River. 

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RUSA spokesperson Prem Balram said after a briefing with the family; the aircraft conducted a low-level search of several kilometres of the river. 

“The crew spotted a huge crocodile in the water & opted to land in the vicinity and search an island on foot. The temperature in the search area was 35 degrees Celsius. The search is currently in progress & an update will follow.”

Prem Balram

The 10-year-old boy is a learner at Ubuhlebesumbili Primary School. 

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