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Christmas party ends tragically

By SYDNEY MORWENG

 

Six revelers were killed when their boat flipped during the Christmas party at the Witbank Dam, Witbank last Friday.

 

Twenty one people were celebrating their Christmas party onboard the boat which is operated by Balham Resorts when it flipped over thus killing six revelers instantly.

 

According to the South African Maritime Authority (SAMA) the boat didn’t comply with the registration requirements of pleasure vessels with the main breach being the number of people on board.

 

The boat had twenty one guests, thus exceeding the required number of revelers on board.

 

As the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)’s investigation in collaboration with the SAPS Waterwing into the circumstances surrounding Friday’s boating accident in Witbank Dam that left 6 people dead continue, new facts have emerged in the integrity of the vessel and the skipper.

 

“We can confirm that the skipper did not have the certificate of competence in manning a vessel of this nature. We can also confirm that the boat was not licensed for the activity which it was conducting at the time the incident occurred -in that it was built and licensed as a pleasure vessel but it was being utilised as a passenger boat at the time”, says SAMSA’s Executive Head Centre for Seafarers Sobantu Tilayi.

 

“According to our registration requirements, a pleasure boat is meant to carry only12 crew at a time but there were twenty one people on board. We are also aware that at the time of the accident there were people on the upper deck of the boat which would have contributed in tipping it over”, explains Tilayi.

 

SAMSA’s surveyors are still continuing with their investigation on-site and the authority is looking at its options now that breach in regulations has been established.

 

The Department of Tourism said the incident was unfortunate, and would like to extend condolences to the families.

 

“With the festive season upon us, a lot of such incidents are going to occur and this could hamper local tourism, especially were there are no rules being followed or abided at,” says the department.

 

According to Tilayi investigations will reveal what happened and the law will punish the boat operators.

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