Near-drowning R10.3m claim dismissed



A R10.3million damages claim by a Brits father whose baby daughter sustained serious brain damage after almost drowning in the fish pond of family members, has been dismissed with costs.

The little girl was just over one year old when she fell into a fish pond next to the living room inside the Montana home of her aunt and uncle ten years ago.

Her father sued his former wife’s sister and her husband for damages, claiming his daughter’s injuries were the result of their negligence as they failed to make the fish pond safe, did not watch the little girl properly and did not warn guests about the dangerous situation.

Little B, as she was referred to by the court, had visited her aunt and uncle with her parents that day so that the adults could hang biltong and dry wors and pack and divide game previously hunted on the brother-in-law’s farm. Her parents were at that stage still married and the families enjoyed a cordial relationship.

While her father was outside, he heard someone scream, rushed to the house and found his ex-wife lifting the child from the pond. He immediately started CPR as she had no pulse and was not breathing. Medical staff only succeeded in reviving the little girl about 20 minutes later. Her aunt and uncle denied any negligence.

Judge Jody Kollapen dismissed the father’s claim in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. He said the girl’s parents were warned and well aware of the danger of the fish pond, both were close to B when the incident took place and her aunt and uncle did not have a higher duty of care towards her than her own parents.


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