Teen killed in freak windmill accident

Polokwane - A 14-year-old Limpopo boy died in a freak accident on Sunday when part of his tracksuit top got caught in the pump mechanism of a farm windmill.

Beeld reported on Tuesday that Zander Smith accompanied his father, Pieter, as he went to tighten a loose bolt on the windmill on his farm about 13km outside Polokwane on Sunday afternoon.

Zander was reportedly standing on the ground inside the windmill structure when a piece of his top got hooked up with a thin iron rod connected to the pump mechanism, and he got entangled. The pump mechanism continued moving up and down, causing his death.

According to the report, Pieter Smith tried desperately to free his son, and got his own jacket sleeve caught in the mechanism. He was seriously injured and risks losing his left forearm and hand.

The teenager died at the scene, and his father was later rescued by a group of hunters from a neighbouring farm who saw them at the windmill.

Pieter Smith was transferred from a Polokwane hospital to a Pretoria hospital, where doctors are attempting to get the blood to flow into his injured hand.

In 2013, an Eastern Cape man was killed when his jacket was caught in the drive shaft of a tractor on a farm near Uitenhage. Police said at the time that he was inspecting a problem in the engine when his jacket got hooked by the drive shaft.

Later that year, a Free State man died in a freak accident when his scarf apparently got tangled up in some farming equipment while offloading mealies.

Also in 2013, a man working at a printing press in Cape Town got both of his arms trapped in one of the machines. He was freed and his badly broken and mangled arms were treated in hospital.

Family, friends and colleagues of Zander Smith are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.