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An 18-month-old child who went missing at the weekend has been reunited with his family in Ntuzuma, Durban after he was discovered in a trench full of rubble, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Tuesday.

The toddler was discovered around 10:00 on Tuesday morning by members of Durban’s K9 Unit, Major Thulani Zwane said.


He was found about 200m inside a trench covered by bush and rubble.

“He was alive and was immediately taken to hospital for medical attention. He was then reunited with his parents, safe,” Zwane said

His family, who are from Lindelani in Ntuzuma, had reported him missing on Saturday.

A policeman who found a missing toddler alive in the bush described it as the highlight of his career.

Umhlali Search and Rescue Dog handler Clint Odayar and his dog Dante have been credited with saving the 18-month-old Samkele Cele’s life when they found him on Tuesday morning just after 10:00.

Recounting the moment when he found the child, the officer said it was a moment that will stay with him forever.

“My dog crept into a dense section of bush and when I pushed aside the grass I saw the boy staring into my eyes. It touched me,” he said.

 Odayan had been called out to a secluded section of the Lindelani township to search for the missing child.

“His parents told me that he had been missing since 11:00 on Saturday and they pointed to an area where they thought he might be. They said they had heard cries at night but as it is a densely populated area they were not sure whether or not it was their child or just another baby,” he said.

“In my mind I was preparing myself to find the body of this baby. It was always going to be a body recovery if the child had been lost in the bush for that long, and exposed to the elements,” he added.

Odayar began searching an area near the couple’s home.

“The bush was dense with a stream running through it and Dante and I had searched an area of about 200m when he indicated. I watched him edge his way into the bush and as I moved behind him I moved back the grass and saw the child’s eyes staring into mine.”

“I think he might have gotten himself in there and then maybe got lost and sat there.”

“When I saw him look into my eyes it touched me. I think God has plans for this child – he kept him alive for that long.”


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