Three cousins drown in KZN river: only one body found so far

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Jan 13, 2020

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Durban - The families of three relatives who were caught by a rising tide and swept out to sea have been at Port Durnford Beach, Mtunzini, every day since last Wednesday as police try to recover the two remaining bodies.

On Friday, Police Search and Rescue Unit members recovered the body of Khanyisani Mthimkhulu, who turned 16 on the same day he and his cousins drowned.

Today, police continue to search for brothers Sandile Mthiyane, 15, and Simenyiwe, 28.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said that on Wednesday, police were alerted to a drowning at Port Durnford Beach.

“They were informed that three family members aged between 15 and 28 had drowned while swimming. The search is continuing.”

She said police were also investigating an inquest docket after Khanyisani’s body was recovered on Friday.

Sandile and Khanyisani were both due to start Grade 9 on Wednesday when schools opened. Simenyiwe was no longer schooling.

Khanyisani’s mother, Khathelephi Mthimkhulu, said Khanyisani, Sandile and Simenyiwe went to the beach with their younger relatives aged 10 and 11.

“During the day I received a call from the Mthiyane family asking if all the children had returned.

“When I said no, I was told a wave had caused damage at the beach and I should rush there. We have been there with police searching since Wednesday.

“I was asked to stay at home today (Sunday) as I am now in mourning.”

Mthimkhulu said the two younger children who managed to escape the tide said they had all been standing on a pile of sand taking pictures when the tide swept their three cousins away.

“The two children then ran back home to get help. Our biggest worry now is not finding them.”

Area councillor Jabu Radebe said there were no lifeguards on that beach but people used it anyway. “Our entire community here in Mpembeni are still in shock and hurt by the loss.”

Last Tuesday, IPSS Medical Rescue reported a near drowning at Salmon Bay in Ballito. Spokesperson Paul Herbst said paramedics with Lenmed1 specialised air ambulance attended the scene where a young child reportedly got into difficulty while swimming at an unprotected beach.

“Members of the public saw the child in distress and managed to pull her from the water.

“Paramedics stabilised her before she was taken to hospital,” he said.

A week before, the body of a woman who drowned at the unprotected Salt Rock beach, was recovered.

Herbst said IPSS Search and Rescue and KwaDukuza Municipality lifeguards and members of the Police Search and Rescue Unit found the swimmer’s body after an intense search. “Please ensure that you swim at protected beaches only,” he urged the public.

Daily News

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