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Search and Rescue team manages to recover body amid scary moment with aggressive hippo

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the Provincial Commissioner Limpopo


POLOKWANE - Members of the South African Police Service Search and Rescue Unit, last night managed to retrieve the body of a 26 year-old man from a farm dam in the Ritavi Policing area, after amid tit-for-tat moments with a very aggressive hippopotamus. The area falls under Ritavi Policing area near Tzaneen in the Mopani District.

The victim and his 34-year-old colleague were reportedly working at this dam on Tuesday 06 September 2022, busy removing illegal fishing nets left behind by poachers who fled the area while being chased by the farmer.

They were busy removing nets using a canoe without life jackets and In the process one of the nets caught a crocodile and during their pulling of the nets, the crocodile managed to pull away and the canoe capsized, both the farm workers fell into the dam and one of the them managed to swim out while the other one drowned.  The victim (deceased) was identified as Guidance Manganye (26) from Giyani in Mopani.

The search operation commenced but had to be suspended when it became dark and that the dam is infested with Crocodiles and Hippos. The rescue team had to acquire suitable equipment to repel the hippos before retrieving the body.

After long and gruelling hours the body was retrieved from the dam and not before the team had to negotiate their way, be alert and cautious about the presence of these dangerous animals.

The Provincial Commissioner of Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe is excited and full of praise for the team for carrying out a difficult task with such zealous efforts.

"These are members whose task is to carry out rescue operations and save lives, even under extreme and strenuous circumstances. I am really proud of this dedicated winning team which is always geared towards bringing back smiles to the faces and closures to the affected families," concluded Lieutenant General Hadebe.

An inquest docket has been opened and police investigations are continuing.

Lieutenant Colonel Mamphaswa Seabi
082 450 1578


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