File picture: NSRI

Cape Town - No sign has yet been found of a 12-year-old child who went missing while swimming in the sea at Strand Beach in False Bay, east of Cape Town, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Sunday.

NSRI Strand duty crew were activated at 2.36pm on Saturday afternoon by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports of a drowning in progress at Strand Beach, NSRI Strand station commander Alan Meiklejohn said.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski and Mercantile Spirit were launched and the sea rescue vehicle and NSRI rescue swimmers, Western Cape health emergency medical services (EMS) and the EMS rescue squad, the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and their rescue dive unit, law enforcement agencies, and others all responded.

On arrival on the scene, an air, sea, and shoreline search for a missing child, believed to be aged 12, commenced.

"The child, reported to be among a group of local friends who were swimming together, was reported by eyewitnesses to have disappeared underwater after appearing to be in difficulty in the surf while swimming.

"Despite an extensive search, sadly no sign of the child has been found and a police dive unit are continuing in an ongoing search supported by NSRI Strand, Strand Surf Lifesaving, CoCT Law Enforcement Marine, and Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services dive unit. Trauma counsellors assisted family of the missing child and our thoughts are with the family in this difficult time," Meiklejohn said.

African News Agency (ANA)