South Africa: Disabled Man Drowns in Waterway At Canal Walk

A paralysed man died at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre on Tuesday when he drowned in one of the waterways.

Graham Clarke, who was wheelchair bound after suffering a stroke more than 30 years ago, was a long-time resident of the Eric Miles Cheshire Home in Milnerton.

Alet Bosman, the general manager at the facility which cares for profoundly physically disabled people, said the 61-year-old Clarke had asked his carer to return to their car and fetch him Weetbix so that he could feed the ducks swimming in the establishment's canals during a shopping trip.

As the carer walked back to where they had parked, he saw the former health inspector fall into the water.

Strapped in and paralysed from the middle of his mouth down after suffering a stroke which affected his brain stem three decades ago, Clarke is believed to have died instantly.

Bosman said she was devastated over Clarke's death, explaining that he had been at the home for 33 of the 34 years she had worked there.

"He was an incredibly brave guy, who sometimes got very frustrated because he was normal in every way, except for his body," she said.

"But he never bitched and moaned. He was such a positive person."

Clarke got around on a motorised wheelchair. He communicated by means of a special machine with an infrared light, or would "speak" with the help of staffers spelling out the words and him confirming it facially.

"The residents are very upset about his death, but are accepting it. He has had a long-suffering life, but was happy nevertheless."

Clarke's carer was traumatised by what had happened and was receiving counselling.

"He is very sad, but we will look after him," Bosman said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed a death inquest docket had been opened.

Canal Walk has been approached for comment. The story will be updated when comment is received.

Source: News24

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