Boy, 12, electrocuted in Durban canal by illegal connection

17 February 2020 - 14:03 By Orrin Singh
Kyle O'Riley, 12, died on Sunday when he was electrocuted by an exposed cable in the Umbilo canal.
Kyle O'Riley, 12, died on Sunday when he was electrocuted by an exposed cable in the Umbilo canal.
Image: Supplied

Sunday was tragic for a Durban family when a 12-year-old boy died after being electrocuted by an exposed electrical wire in a canal he was crossing.

According to sources close to the investigation, Kyle O'Riley left his home in Seaview, in the south of Durban, with a friend. The boys attempted to cross the Umbilo River canal, near the M7 informal settlement.

After becoming concerned about his absence, Kyle's father went to look for him. He discovered his son's lifeless body in the canal, but was unable to approach him due to the wire in the water.

Police divers from Durban Search and Rescue (SAR), Durban Metro Police SAR and Durban K9 SAR were deployed.

After the wire was removed from the water, police recovered the boy's body.

This is not the first time illegal connections at the M7 informal settlement have ended in tragedy.

In March 2014, Sgt Shawn Jooste, of the Bluff K9 unit, narrowly escaped death, while his dog, Khulu, was killed after being electrocuted by an exposed cable in the settlement.

The pair was chasing a suspect through the settlement. He had allegedly stolen cables and opened fire on police detectives.

Sgt Shawn Jooste of the Bluff K9 unit narrowly escaped death, while his dog, Khulu, was killed after being electrocuted by an exposed cable in the M7 informal settlement in 2014.
Sgt Shawn Jooste of the Bluff K9 unit narrowly escaped death, while his dog, Khulu, was killed after being electrocuted by an exposed cable in the M7 informal settlement in 2014. 
Image: Screenshot

Jooste said such tragedies were happening more often than they should. 

“It's something that shouldn't happen, but it does. It's always a problem there. They keep on connecting and it's difficult to enforce.” 

His sentiments were echoed by DA ward 65 councillor Samantha Windvogel, who visited the boy's family on Sunday.

“It's a tough one and very unfortunate that a young person had to lose his life because of illegal connections.”

She said illegal connections throughout eThekwini were an issue.

“The electricity department knows about it. When the electricity department go out and they disconnect, after they leave, it's up again. It's very difficult to address. You cannot have 24-hour security stationed there to police this.”

Meanwhile, private investigator Rhyno Lombaard, who was made aware of the case by a friend, appealed to anyone with information about Kyle's death to contact him on 083 789 3590. He is trying to get more information on the illegal connection to help the family.


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