Cape Town – Police officers from the search and rescue unit in Limpopo retrieved the body of a drowned farmworker after a standoff with aggressive hippos at Thiergaten dam.
The officers were met by the hippos, as they tried to recover the body of Guidance Mangaye who drowned after his canoe was capsized by a crocodile at the dam, police said in a statement.
According to police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Malesela Ledwaba Mangaye, the incident happened earlier this week near Tzaneen.
Ledwaba said the victim, 26, and his 34-year-old coworker were reportedly working at the dam, removing illegal fishing nets left behind by poachers who fled after being chased by the farmer.
#sapsLIM SAPS #SearchAndRescue Unit members managed to retrieve the body of a drowning victim (26) from a farm dam in the Ritavi Policing area amid dangerous moments with a very aggressive hippopotamus. NPhttps://t.co/I22PmTbLND pic.twitter.com/ymb0LITCjf
— SA Police Service 🇿🇦 (@SAPoliceService) September 9, 2022
“They were removing the nets using a canoe without wearing life jackets and one net caught a crocodile. When they pulled on the net the crocodile pulled away and the canoe capsized. Both farmworkers fell into the dam. One managed to swim out while the other drowned,” said Ledwaba.
Police were called to the scene but had to abandon their search and rescue mission when the area fell dark.
“The rescue team had to acquire suitable equipment to repel the hippos before retrieving the body. After long and grueling hours, the body was retrieved from the dam but not before the team had to negotiate their way and be cautious about the presence of the dangerous animals,” Ledwaba said.
An inquest docket has been opened.
Picture: Twitter/ @SAPoliceService
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe