Body of girl, 14, among two recovered after drowning incidents; search and rescue teams look for two other victims
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DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal SAPS Search and Rescue, metro police search and rescue teams and the K9 unit have been across the province searching and recovering the bodies of at least five drowning victims from separate incidents.
On Friday, Empangeni Search and Rescue, Empangeni K9 Search and Rescue, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), VPO Richards Bay and lifeguards from Richards Bay attended to a report of a drowning at the Bay Hall area (harbour) in the Richards Bay SAPS district.
“The body of a 14-year-old girl was recovered,” police said.
NSRI Richards Bay station commander Mike Patterson said at 3.05pm on Friday, the NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were activated following reports from police search and rescue of a drowning in progress near Bay Hall, off-shore of Pelican Island.
Patterson said sea rescue craft Grindrod Rescuer and a police boat were launched and lifeguards on Malibu rescue boards responded.
“On arrival on the scene a search commenced for a 14-year-old female who had disappeared under water after appearing to be in difficulty approximately 50m off-shore,” Patterson said.
“During a search the body of the teenager was located and recovered by police scuba divers from under water.”
He said the girl’s body was taken into the care of the government health forensic pathology services and police opened an inquest docket.
On Friday night, a 48-year-old man was swept down the river while attempting to cross the flooded Mthethwa Road bridge over the Umzinyathi River in Inanda, north of Durban.
“Police divers from Durban SAPS Search and Rescue along with metro police search and rescue searched the river today (Saturday) without any sign of the victim,” police said.
Also on Friday, police divers from SAPS Search and Rescue along with metro police search and rescue and eThekwini lifeguards continued with the search for a victim who drowned on Thursday afternoon at Ansteys Beach.
Police said the body of a 31-year-old man was recovered and an inquest docket was opened.
In another incident, officers from Empangeni Search and Rescue, Empangeni K9 Search and Rescue and Search and Rescue K9 Vryheid returned to the Pongola area on Friday following a drowning incident the day before.
The water levels rose from between 500mm to 750mm since Thursday afternoon. Police said the officers were unable to conduct a search.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, officers from the Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue were called out to the Plessislaer SAPS area where they recovered the body of an unknown 34-year-old woman in the Dusi River.
Police said a case docket was opened.
Last week, the Daily News reported that KwaZulu-Natal police and emergency service personnel were busy along the coastline since the start of the festive season.
On January 1, Durban Search and Rescue conducted high visibility patrols along eThekwini beaches from Umkomaas to Westbrook Beach.