The police instructor assigned to teach police recruit Kabo Sealego how to swim was talking on his mobile phone about the time the recruit
drowned to his death.
Sealego died during swimming lessons at Otse Police College on September 16, 2005.
A metal road which should have been used to save Sealego from drowning was only used to retrieve his corpse from the pool -this emerged during the inquest into Sealego?s death.
A former colleague of the deceased at Otse Police College, Happy Motshebedi, told the inquest how the instructor was continuously talking on his mobile phone after instructing the learners to swim at the deep end of the pool.
Motshebedi said although he was not a competent swimmer he was comfortable with swimming at the deep end, adding that he had done so before.
Asked about the use of a metal rod during their swimming lessons, he explained that it was used to help those who struggle to swim to get out of the swimming pool.
On that day, he said, it was only used to help in retrieving the deceased from the swimming pool.
The inquest was held in order to establish whether the instructor can be held responsible for the death of the recruit due to negligence. The officer is currently on interdiction.
A forensic pathologist at Princess Marina Hospital, Dr Alex Matunga, told the inquest that all evidence suggested that Sealego died from drowning.
Matunga said that there was no air in Sealego?s body tissue which, he said, was caused by the presence of foreign matter in the air passage.
Under cross examination by the prosecutor, Mpho Mmolainyane, Matunga stated that the foreign matter he referred to was water.
The foreign matter, he said, had also caused the deceased?s lungs to balloon and that the deceased?s stomach also had a lot of water.
When asked by Mmolainyane about the amount of time that it would take for a person to die from drowning, Matunga said that it could take from a few seconds to five minutes.
Death by drowning is rapid,? he stated.
On the amount of water that has to be taken for a person to die from drowning, Matunga said that this would differ from one person to another in accordance with their body?s capacity.
He also told the inquest that it is possible to save a person who had drowned from dying if his body is retrieved quickly from the water and treated accordingly; adding that whether a person who has drowned ultimately dies depends on the amount of damage that had occurred to his body before he was retrieved.
Asked to state the medical fitness of the deceased at the time of the accident, he said that it was difficult to tell after a person had died but added that there were no visible contributory factors to the known one of drowning.