Lifeguard and sea rescue services have been kept busy over the festive season, responding to a number of incidents including the drowning of two men at Cape Town beaches on New Year’s Day.
This comes as a sea and shoreline search continues for a 28-year-old Belhar man caught in rip currents and swept out to sea at Sonwabe Beach.
National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon said that at 1.30pm on New Year’s Day the Strandfontein duty crew were activated after witness reports of a drowning in progress at Sonwabe Beach, False Bay.
“Three males were reported to be caught in rip currents and being swept out to sea.”
The City water rescue network was activated and NSRI Strandfontein, EMS, ambulance and response paramedics, the Law Enforcement Marine Unit, SAPS Water Policing and Dive Services and lifeguards, among others, responded.
“One man, aged 18, was found on the beach. NSRI medics initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts and they were joined by emergency services.
“(Two boys,) an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old, were out of the water and a 28-year-old male was missing. Two unidentified male bystanders, good Samaritans, had assisted the 12-year-old out of the water and they had tried to assist the man of 28,” said Lambinon.
The 8-year-old managed to get out of the water unassisted but after all efforts to resuscitate the 18-year-old, he was declared deceased.
“A sea and shoreline search for the 28-year-old male continued but there remains no signs of the missing man.
SAPS Water Policing and Dive Services (WPDS) are continuing in an ongoing search for the missing man,” said Lambinon.
While rescue craft were responding at Sonwabe Beach, they were flagged down by members of the public.
“On investigating, NSRI were met by a male, age 24, from Manenberg, that had been rescued from the water by bystanders and he was on the beach with no pulse and no breathing ... After all efforts to resuscitate the 24-year-old Manenberg man were exhausted he was sadly declared deceased,” said Lambinon. “Police have opened inquest dockets in the cases of the two deceased.”
In KwaZulu-Natal, also on New Year’s Day, a 63-year-old man was declared dead after drowning.
Lambinon said: “Shelly Beach duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Shelly Beach ... On arrival at the scene, bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts were in progress on (the man), on holiday in KZN from Mount Frere, Eastern Cape, who had been recovered from the water by three bystander(s).”