140811. Cape Town. The SAPS diving unit is seen searching for two children missing in the mouth of the Black River, Paarden Eiland. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - Police are still searching for two boys who disappeared after their raft was swept out to sea from Paarden Eiland on Sunday.

By Monday afternoon divers had not found any sign of the pair, and chances that they survived were looking slim, reported one source.

The search was to resume on Tuesday.

The last time they were seen they had disappeared beneath the incoming waves.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the families of the children had been traced to Elsies River on Monday. According to the local community police forum chairman, the parents had failed to file a missing persons report by early on Monday, prompting police to send out a van to track them down.

They told them the children were missing.

Van Wyk said five boys aged between 8 and 14 had boarded a train bound for Paarden Island, and clambered down the bridge at Marine Drive where the Black River opens up into the ocean.

Under the bridge they had found a raft, used by construction workers during the week, and untied it from its moorings.

“It seems that when they realised the current was pulling them out to sea, three children jumped off (at different times), but the other two stayed on the raft and waited.”

National Sea Rescue Institute spokesman Craig Lambinon said only when the raft was about 200m out to sea did the two boys jump into the water.

The other three, who made it safely to shore, said they saw their friends struggling in the water before disappearing beneath the waves.

Metro EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said the other boys were taken to hospital, and later discharged.

Searches on Sunday turned up nothing, and on Monday divers from the police and the fire and rescue services were still looking for the missing boys.

Van Wyk said divers were still searching the sea, and the Table Bay Harbour Crime Prevention was searching the beach area.

Elsies River community police forum chairman Faizal Abrahams said all the children were from the neighbourhood.

“The ones who survived are very traumatised.”

He was angry that the parents had let the children go swimming unsupervised and then failed to report them missing.

“This is a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

[email protected]

Cape Argus