A Hoërskool Birchleigh school trip in Durban turned tragic Monday morning when two schoolboys – who had been reported missing a day earlier after an outing to the beach – were found dead.
Commenting on the tragedy, Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said he was “disheartened by the incident”.
The tournament was scheduled for a week from Thursday, 24 March.
The schoolboys were scheduled to return to Gauteng on Thursday, 31 March.
Panyaza said on Sunday morning, the learners and several teachers went swimming at Durban North beach.
Some learners were reportedly assisted to shore by lifeguards after experiencing challenges.
After a headcount, it was realised that two learners were missing.
All learners were accompanied back to the accommodation while the teachers proceeded to search the vicinity looking for the two missing learners.
The search went on until the evening with no success, after which the educators opened a missing persons case at Durban Central Police Station.
“On Monday, 28 March 2022, the educators were informed that the bodies of two boy learners were discovered about two kilometers north of the beach from where they went swimming on Sunday,” said Panyaza.
Police are currently investigating circumstances surrounding the incident.
The deceased schoolboys were in Grade 10 and Grade 12. One of the boys was from Birchleigh and the other one was from Tembisa.
“Our Psycho-Social unit has been dispatched to counsel the school community of Hoërskool Birchleigh, and this counselling will continue upon return of the learners from Durban,” said the Gauteng Education MEC.
“It’s disheartening that a positive sporting school trip that our learners passionately participated in ended in such a tragic manner. We convey our most heartfelt condolences to the two affected families and the school community at large.”