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2023/02/15      |  Written By:  Colonel A Myburg   |   Province:  North West

POTCHEFSTROOM: 15 February 2023 – Police in the province request the community to be cautious about dams that are filled to capacity after heavy rainfalls, leading to the opening of dam sluice gates. In the Vaal River the opening of sluice gates causes 1000 tons of water per second to be released, causing a very strong flow of water in nearby rivers and springs. Not only the Vaal River has a strong current, but also the Crocodile River and smaller rivers that forms part of the drainage basin of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

In a recent case reported on Monday, 13 February 2023 at about 08:15 in Modderdam, close to Potchefstroom, four people were stranded after failing to cross the river due to a strong flowing current. Police divers acted swiftly and successfully rescued the stranded people; two adults and two children.

The public is advised to take heed and apply the following safety tips:

The following observation are important when you want to cross a river or if you want to swim in a river, lake or dam:

•           Before entering the water, check the strength of the current.

•           When caught in a fast flowing river, travel feet first, this will absorb the head and body from serious injury.

•           When you fall into water, unable to stand and reach the side quickly, you


         Stay calm.

         Try not to swallow water.

         Keep your head above the water by kicking as if you are cycling and by paddling with your hands at the same time.

•           When you swim in open water it’s much harder than swimming in the still waters of a pool. This means you may

            tire faster and that can lead to trouble very quickly.

•           When swimming in rivers or lakes, the murky water can make it difficult to find people who go under.

•           If you swim in a place with a strong current, such as where two rivers meet, it can be easy to be pulled under and swept away.

•           It’s important when you’re out on the water to wear an appropriately fitting life jacket in case you get tossed unexpectedly into the water. This goes for children too.

•           Make sure you check the weather conditions on a day you will be out, and always make sure you have a cell

            phone handy as well as someone with you who can perform CPR if needed.

•           Talk to your children about the dangers of being in open water and tell them what to do in case of an emergency


Modderdam rescue 1.jpg
Police divers in action during Modderdam rescue operation.