School trip ends in tragedy

School trip ends in tragedy

TEYA-TEYANENG – IT was a school trip that ended in tragedy. The bizarre circumstances of the tragedy have left the community in Teya-Teyaneng baffled. Two young girls died instantly when they were crushed by huge rocks that were rolled into their bus last Wednesday by some herd boys while on a school trip near Mohale Dam.

Five other boys sustained serious wounds in the mishap. The boys were admitted at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital in Maseru.
The bus was carrying students from Masoeling Primary School who had gone to tour the dam. As it was negotiating some sharp slopes on a mountain, the herd boys who were in the mountain, rolled two big rocks which came crashing down into the bus, killing the two students instantly.
The herd boys ran away.

Police spokesman Inspector Mpiti Mopeli said four boys were taken to the Mohale police station for questioning but were released into the custody of their parents on the same day because of their tender age. The boys, whose names will not be published to protect their identities, are between the ages of 12 and 13.

The principal of Masoeling LEC Primary, Mary Hlabathe, said what the boys did was very bad. Hlabathe said in most cases anti-social acts such as these are “done by isolated kids who feel that they have been left behind while others are able to get education and enjoy themselves”.
“I think these kids are not attending school that is why they do not know that they should not behave this way,” Hlabathe said.

However, Mopeli said the boys attend school and they were attending to their parents’ livestock on that day because it was a holiday.
The school trip to Mohale Dam had been organised by the school and parents to allow the students to learn outdoors, Hlabathe said.
Narrating what happened, Hlabathe, who was travelling with the students, said she heard a loud noise and when she looked back she saw a huge rock hurtling through the window and fell on some children.

As she screamed with shock, there was another noise when the second rock fell on the students. “After the first noise, I looked up the mountain and saw a boy turning the stone down to us,” Hlabathe said. “Then the two boys ran away. I could notice that five students had been injured and at the time I was not aware that two girls had already died,” she said. “We rushed them to the nearby Mohale Clinic and the five kids were transferred to Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital. Two students were declared dead.”

The principal said she cannot express how sad she is “after losing these two innocent souls”.
“I’m very shocked and saddened by the deaths of these two students,” a visibly shaken Hlabathe said, adding: “This is the first such experience I have ever had.”
“We always take some trips out with the students but this one was quite tragic.” Hlabathe said she is left with a burden to explain what happened to the victims’ parents. “I do not know what to say to the parents of these kids, I just don’t know what to do or to say to them,” she said.
The parents are inconsolable.

’Mankareng Mokoma, 74, said the death of her granddaughter, Rethabile Mokoma, reminded her of her late eight children.
Only Rethabile’s mother, among all her nine children, is still alive. Mokoma was living in the house with Rethabile.
“I was putting all my hopes on Rethabile, my grandchild, because she is the only one I was left with,” Mokoma said, weeping uncontrollably.
“Eight of my children are dead,” she wailed.

“With whom will I be in these days when old people who are staying alone are being killed? I really hate death!” she said.
Rethabile was a very polite, well-mannered and brilliant girl, she said. Rethabile was in Grade 7.
“I was looking forward to seeing her graduating within five to ten years. I really cannot explain how hurt I am,” she said.
“Why shouldn’t I have died instead of her?”

’Maseimane Moroke, 51, who suffered a severe stroke two years ago, is also in a very bad shape after the death of her child Puseletso Moroke.
“Puseletso was in Grade 6 and she was doing very well in her studies,” she said. “She was also helping me because I cannot do anything for myself because of my condition,” Moroke wept. Puseletso was cooking for her mother and fed her every morning before she went to school.
Her teachers said sometimes she would come to school late because of her strenuous house chores every morning.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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