10 January 2005

Deon Dreyer's Mother waits in vain

Dani´┐Żlskuil - The drowned young man's mother stood with bated breath at the edge of the pool when a diver emerged, but her shoulders dropped dejectedly when she realised he did not bear her son's remains.

This vivid image will haunt inspector Theo van Eeden, a police diver, for the rest of his life.

Van Eeden was one of the police's back-up divers in the retrieval attempt for Deon Dreyer's remains.

Dreyer died in 1994, when he was 20.

Captain Dave Shaw, who found the remains on the floor of the fresh-water cave roughly two months ago, was planning to cut Deon's diving suit from the diving equipment and place him in a lifting device.

Van Eeden said he was at 20m with two police divers and Derek Hughes when they realised something was wrong.

"We knew then that Dave was in trouble. When I emerged from the pool, Marie (Dreyer) was the first person I saw. She had a questioning look on her face. I just shook my head."

Two hours before Dave dived, he told Van Eeden he just wanted to quickly call his "sweet beloved" (wife) on a cellphone.

"When he went into the pool at about 06:00, I told him: 'Have a good one'. Dave turned around and waved at us. We did not see him again."

Van Eeden said it was his first casualty since he took up diving 36 years ago.

"Sometimes I feel like quitting the diving thing. So many people are traumatised by such a tragic death."


At 1:42 PM, Anonymous Judith van Toner (Dreyer) said...

MY name is Judith. I'm Deon Dreyer's cousin. After 10 years it still hurts. All I want to know is what caused Deon's death. Was there any pain in the end? We all still think about him and miss him alot.


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