The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is appealing to residents across South Africa to be extra cautious in and around coastal and inland waters, as there have been multiple fatal and nonfatal drowning accidents and water-related emergencies over the weekend.
The NSRI and emergency services attended to multiple incidents across the country this weekend, including a 12-year-old girl who drowned at Glencairn Tidal Pool in Cape Town on Sunday. Sadly after all efforts to resuscitate the girl were exhausted, she was declared deceased.
A 13-year-old girl also suffered serious injuries after falling from rocks into Clanwilliam Dam on Saturday, February 6.
Two adult females and two teenagers, a boy and girl, got into difficulty in rip currents and were swept out to sea at Trafalgar Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Sunday, February 7.
A local unidentified nine-year-old surfer, using his surfboard, rescued the teenage boy from the water. A father and his son, Dean and Josh Pretorius, who were fishing nearby, also swam out to assist and rescued the teenage girl and one of the adults.
Dean and his son Josh had relaunched into the surf after bystanders pointed out the second adult lady floating in the surfline and on reaching her she was face down in the water and together they managed to recover her to the beach where CPR was commenced. Sadly despite extensive CPR efforts on both adult females they were both declared deceased.
In another incident, two teenagers, Wandre Groenewald (15) and Hannes Vermeulen (18) noticed a man in shallow surf appearing to be in difficulty at Palmiet Beach, Kleinmond at around 7pm on Sunday. Together they rescued the 35-year-old man from the water and while attending to him, members of the public alerted them to another adult male, a relative of theirs, missing in the surfline.
The teens also rescued the man, but sadly despite extensive efforts to resuscitate him paramedics declared him deceased.
An adult male is also missing on an inlet river to the Vaal Dam in the Free State in a drowning accident.
Emergency Services and Police Divers are believed to still be searching for at least five people missing in flood-related incidents that are reported to have claimed another eight lives in Mpumalanga.
In many of these accidents, members of the public stepped in to help prior to emergency services arriving on the scene and they were commended for their efforts.
“We are urgently appealing to the public to adopt a safety-conscious mindset in around water particularly now that beaches are reopened to the public and in light of floods from heavy rainfalls being experienced or expected to be experienced in some Provinces,” said the NSRI in a statement.
“Only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards and children should have responsible adult supervision in and around water / Don’t try to cross rivers that are in flood.”