A grade three pupil at Allan Redfern Primary School in Plumtree drowned on Tuesday afternoon after a swimming expedition turned nasty at a dam near Rangemore suburb in the border town.

Melisa Mukono (8) was part of a group of seven pupils, five boys and two girls aged between seven and nine years old, who set out to swim at the dam.

All the pupils had sneaked out from home when the incident occurred around 4PM.

The other pupils left Melisa struggling in the water but did not tell anyone at home.

The issue only came to light after one of the pupils advised his parents around 7PM.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the incident yesterday.

The school head Mr Dumisani Ncube said the death was a sad loss.

“The tragedy occurred when pupils had already knocked off school. However, we want to conscientise our pupils not to go for swimming without supervision,” said Mr Ncube.

A parent to one of the girls, Ms Belinda Mwase, said she was in shock.

She said her daughter including the deceased and five boys sneaked from home and went to swim.

“My daughter told me that they tried to help Melisa by extending sticks to her to grab so that they could drag her out of the dam but they failed. Realising that they had failed to rescue her, the other six returned home leaving her struggling. They didn’t tell anyone about the incident,” she said.

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