‘Our hearts are broken’: tears for families after Kalahari lodge fire

The blaze wiped out the entire Carstens household. Danè Carstens and her two sons Magiel and Pierre-Johan all died in the fire. Hendri Carstens succumbed to his injuries at the Christiaan Barnard Hospital in Cape Town on Sunday evening, a family wrote on Facebook.
Image: 123RF/Thuansak Srilao

“No-one deserves to die in such a traumatic manner. Our hearts are broken. We are lost for words.”

These are the words of a friend of Wilmien Davin — who lost her children Frans-Jan and Eliza (Iza) in a horrific fire at the Blinkwater lodge in the Kalahari on Sunday.

Davin’s husband Frans is fighting for his life in ICU at a hospital in Belville, Cape Town. She and her baby boy Ben survived the blaze.

The friend, who asked not to be named, told TimesLIVE on Monday that she learnt about the fire on social media.

“The tears were flowing on Sunday when I found out what happened to Wilmien and her family and the other families,” she said.

The Davins and two other families, from Ceres in the Western Cape, were on holiday at the luxury lodge when the fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“It is extremely heartbreaking. I am a mother myself and I can’t imagine what it might have been witnessing your children and husband die in such a horrific manner. Wilmien has a very beautiful personality with a heart of gold.”

She originally met the Davin family at Stellenbosch in 2008.

“We were part of a group who would socialise over weekends. These were genuine good people with good hearts and you wouldn’t in your wildest dreams think that something like this would happen to them.”

The blaze claimed the lives of the entire Carstens family. Danè Carstens and her sons Magiel and Pierre-Johan all died in the fire while Hendri Carstens succumbed to his injuries later at the Christiaan Barnard Hospital in Cape Town.

Madelein Bauer was the only survivor in her family. Her husband Stefan and one of their daughters, Elrè, died.

Police spokesperson Brig Mohale Ramatseba said rescue teams were still searching for a missing child — the Bauer’s other daughter Inge — on Monday.

Ramatseba said a fire expert would also be on the scene to establish the cause of the blaze.




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