High Court finds resort owner responsible for toddler’s 2010 drowning

News_Item_Flood_Drowning

NATASHA TRUYENS

Snr. Associate | Attorney

NIHANN VAN ROOYEN

Snr. Associate | Attorney

What began as a happy vacation on the banks of the Groot Marico river in December 2010 ended in tragedy for the family of documentary cameraman, Daniel Black, when their three-year-old son was swept away and drowned in heavy flooding.

The family was staying at a resort near Groot Marico when their chalet was flooded and three of the five family members were carried away by the river flood waters at around midnight on Wednesday, 15 December 2010.

Belinda Black and another child managed to escape the flood waters pouring into the house while Daniel held on to his little boy as he and his 12-year-old son clung to trees to prevent being swept away. Sadly, they became separated and emergency services eventually found the body of little Eric in the afternoon.

The Black family took the farm owner, Tino Erasmus to court, alleging negligence in that he had built the chalets within a 100-year floodline and that he and his wife had failed to take precautions to prevent dangerous events from occurring as a result of the location of the chalet.

Erasmus and his wife, Annette claimed that the flood was simply a ‘freak of nature’ and that, while they were sympathetic to the Black family’s loss, they could not be held responsible for the tragedy.

On Friday 26 March 2021, after an eleven-year long legal struggle, the North-West High Court disagreed with all Erasmus’ claims and found in favour of the Black family. This will bring the family – now residing in the UK – a small measure of closure. The quantum of the claim is yet to be determined. VIEW JUDGMENT.

For comment regarding the matter and the judgment, kindly contact the family’s attorneys, Barnard Incorporated.

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