A father, his two sons and their pet dog were swept to sea and battled a rip current in the shore break north of La Mercy Lagoon in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal on Friday, January 29. Only one of them survived the traumatic ordeal.
The family and dog were close to the shoreline when a wave swept them out to sea, sucked through a channel into the surfline and carried out by a strong rip current, explained the NSRI in a statement.
The NSRI Ballito duty crew, Netcare 911 ambulance services, eThekwini Municipal lifeguards, RUSA (Reaction Unit South Africa) members and a RUSA helicopter, SA Police Services, Durban Metro Police and Durban Metro Police Search and Rescue all responded to the scene.
One of the sons (18), managed to make it back to the beach safely. The father (43) his other son (14) as well as their pet dog, a Pit Bull terrier, was discovered lifeless in the surfline.
A doctor from inland Kwa-Zulu Natal, who was a witness at the time of the drownings, took matters into his own hands and raced to save the father. He managed to pull the man from the water and initiated CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). Rescue resources arrived on the scene and paramedics assisted the doctor, continuing with advanced life support resuscitation efforts on the man.
Sadly after all efforts to resuscitate the father were exhausted, he was declared deceased by paramedics.
A search was also launched to find the 14-year-old son who had disappeared in the surfline. NSRI rescue swimmers conducted free-dives in the backline breakers and in the shore break. The Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) helicopter was also part of the search and rescue mission.
His body was recovered in the shallow surf, some 200m from where he had last been seen. Netcare 911 paramedics retrieved the teenager from the water and CPR efforts were commenced but sadly the teenager was declared deceased.
During these search efforts a pet dog, belonging to the family, was spotted lifeless in the surfline.
The bodies of the father and his 14-year-old son have been taken into the care of KZN Government Health Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an Inquest docket. The SPCA were activated and they took the dog carcass into their care.
The 18-year-old teenager sustained no injuries and police were with him and his mother on the scene.
We did not know this doggo. But truly this hero deserves to be known. In an attempt to save his drowning 14, 18 and 44…