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Club owners, event organisers face probe after Hartbeespoort Dam boat disaster

Three people drowned and one person burned to death after a boat called Prime Time caught fire.

A boat caught fire in the Hartbeespoort Dam on 19 November 2016. Picture: Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit/Facebook.com.

JOHANNESBURG – The North West premier’s office says investigations into the Hartbeespoort Dam boat disaster now include the owners of the boat club and the event organisers.

Three people drowned and one person was burned to death after a boat called Prime Time caught fire.

The premier has sent his condolences to the affected families.

The office of the North West premier says the search for other possible victims is continuing.

Spokesperson Brian Setshwambung says “And we’ll be advised as soon as there’s any calling of the rescue operation.”

Setshwambung says the owners of the boating club have declined to comment.

“Maybe it’s because they wouldn’t want to speculate because just like us they’re not perhaps properly informed about the exact cause of the whole thing.”

Its estimated 200 people were on board the vessel when it caught fire.

MORE DETAILS EMERGE

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about this weekend’s boating tragedy.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) says three passengers drowned after a smaller rescue boat they were on capsized.

Samsa says it has launched an investigation with the police to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Spokesperson Tebogo Ramatjie says, “We’re working very closely with the South African Police Service on this investigation. Obviously, there are parts of the investigation where the jurisdiction lies solely with them.”

Ramatjie says Samsa has been in contact with the main event organiser and some of the survivors.

“As part of the information gathering leading up to the investigation that will be starting, we’ve been in contact with the event organiser.”

CONDOLENCES

Meanwhile, the MEC for Tourism in the North West, Desbo Mohono, has sent her heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives following the incident.

Mohono has also, on behalf of the department and the province, wished the passengers who were injured a speedy recovery.

Tourism spokesperson Dineo Lolokwane says, “The department and the North West province would like to send their deepest condolences to the families of the deceased.

“The MEC also went on to appreciate the efforts of the emergency crew which responded to the accident thus preventing the loss of more lives. However, more facts on the accident will be after the authorities have done their investigation.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)