File picture: Supplied

Port Elizabeth - A man has drowned while swimming at a Port Elizabeth beach, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Sunday.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Coastal Water Rescue Committee (NMB - CWRC) was activated at about 2.15pm on Saturday following a report to the South African Police Service (SAPS) about a drowning in progress at Brighton Beach, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander Ian Gray said.

NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Eikos Rescuer IV and NSRI rescue swimmers, the SAPS, Coastal Water rescue swimmers, Blue Water Bay Lifesaving Club lifeguards, who launched a BWBLSC rescue rubber-duck, EC government health emergency medical services (EMS), the Nelson Mandela Bay beach office, and Blue Water Bay iPatrol all responded, he said.

On arrival on the scene a sea and shoreline search commenced for a 55-year-old local man missing in the surf. He had been swimming with friends when he appeared to get into difficulty and eyewitnesses reported seeing the man disappear under water.

During the search the body of the man was located and recovered from the surf zone by Coastal Water rescue swimmers who were deployed into the surf from a Blue Water Bay Lifesaving Club rescue rubber-duck.

The body of the man was brought to the beach where EMS paramedics commenced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts but after extensive CPR efforts were exhausted on the scene the man was declared dead by paramedics. Police had opened an inquest docket. 

Gray conveyed the NSRI's sincerest condolences to the man's family and friends.