File picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA).

PORT ELIZABETH - An 11-year-old boy is still missing after apparently falling into the water at the Swartkops River Mouth in Port Elizabeth and being swept out to sea, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Sunday.

NSRI duty crew were activated at 6.45pm on Saturday evening following reports of a drowning in progress at the Swartkops River Mouth, NSRI Port Elizabeth station commander Justin Erasmus said.

The sea rescue craft JLK Rescuer was launched to join the South African Police Service (SAPS) coastal water rescue unit, Eastern Cape government emergency medical services (EMS), and Bluewater Bay lifeguards searching for a local 11-year-old boy believed to have slipped into the water before being swept away by rip currents in an outgoing tide, he said.

Despite an extensive sea and shoreline search, no sign of the child was found. Police trauma counsellors were assisting family of the missing child and police were investigating.

On Sunday, police and a police K9 search and rescue squad continued an ongoing search operation, and NSRI Port Elizabeth, Coastal Water Rescue, and Bluewater Bay lifeguards were assisting police in their ongoing search. A police helicopter also joined in the ongoing search on Sunday.

"The child remains missing and thoughts are with the family in this difficult time," Erasmus said.

African News Agency (ANA)