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Annual beach day trip ends in tragedy for KZN mom as 10-year-old son drowns in freak wave

Durban’s North Beach. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban’s North Beach. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Dec 20, 2022


Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal mother whose 10-year-old son drowned at the weekend in a freak wave, says she can’t accept her child is gone.

Ayanda Nene, from Hammersdale, was attending an annual beach day trip when tragedy struck on Durban’s North Beach, according to News24.

In a statement eThekwini Municipality said a total of three people drowned on December 17, after being swept out to sea by rip currents.

The city said it took a team of 35 lifeguards to execute a mass rescue effort and another team of paramedics to attend to the more than 100 people who were involved in the incident.

“Despite the best efforts of the emergency response team, three people lost their lives, with others transported to hospital.”

Slindile Nene, told News24 that she was in the water when the freak wave struck.

She was deep in the ocean while her son, who was afraid of the sea, had been standing near the shoreline.

She told News24 that she only realised Ayanda was in trouble when she found him on a stretcher, with paramedics trying to resuscitate him.

Nene said paramedics spent almost two hours trying to revive her son whom she described as bubbly.

She told News24 that she believed Ayanda was alive when they rescued him from the water.

On Tuesday, eThekwini Municipality said it was aware of an alarmist voice note about drownings at the South and Isipingo beaches.

“The voice note calls on the public to avoid beaches because of these incidents.”

The municipality said the only drownings took place at North Beach and nothing at Isipingo Beach.

“Isipingo beach is closed due to poor water quality so there is no swimming there.”

The city cautioned the public to be wary of alarmist social media posts and fake news which are disseminated with intentions to cause panic.

“Swimming at beaches can be a safe activity if the public follows safety guidelines such as swimming within designated areas, not swimming under the influence of alcohol and complying with instructions of lifeguards.

“The municipality re-iterates its condolences to families who lost loved ones in the North Beach incident. It also commends the bravery of lifeguards, paramedics and other emergency response personnel who attended to this unfortunate incident.”


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