Vastrap’s double tragedy

Booysen Park community reeling after toddler drowns in ditch, boy dies in fire

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Two Booysen Park families are in mourning following a double tragedy over the Easter weekend.On Good Friday, a toddler drowned after slipping and falling into a water-filled ditch in Vastrap, and, just hours later and not far from the site of the drowning, a 12-year-old boy died in a devastating shack fire.Drowning victim Mischa Ferreira would have turned two in July, the little girl’s distraught parents said on Sunday.Her father, Emile van Sensie, 38, said he had last seen her playing with her cousins who live near to them in Vastrap.“Never did I think I would find my child’s body in a small pool of dirty water,” he said.“I’m trying my best to be strong but it is so difficult.“While she was playing with her cousins, we were in the house making pickled fish.“So when it was time to eat, we called, but there was no answer – she didn’t pitch.”He said a small search party was then formed with members of the community.“We honestly thought she had been kidnapped.“We could not find her anywhere,” Van Sensie said.He said they had passed the ditch where his daughter was later found several times.“Two people who were helping us with the search thought to look if there was anything in the ditch and, to our absolute horror, they found her in there.“They screamed my name and my heart just sank,” the anguished father said.“I tried to resuscitate her, but it was too late.” He said the ditch, which was on a construction site, was not cordoned off.“I just want to get Saturday [the funeral] behind me, but I’m planning to sue those people [construction company] for negligence.”Mischa’s mother, Mariska Ferreira, 25, said: “That was my baby – my heart is shattered.“She had not been outside for long when we called her.”On Sunday, Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani visited Mischa’s parents and the family of fire victim Morne Buys.Morne’s aunt, Jermaine Buys, 32, said the family was still coming to terms with the youngster’s death.“We are mourning so we are asking you to give us the space we need,” she said.Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the shack fire occurred at about 7.30pm – five hours after Mischa’s body was found.“The boy’s mother, 29, and sister, four, were rushed to hospital,” she said.“The cause of the fire is under investigation – police have opened an inquest docket.”Bobani said: “These [deaths] are sad news during an Easter weekend [when] every family should be enjoying the time with their loved ones.“Strength and comfort to the families during this time.”

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