WILDERNESS - A man drowned after he got into difficulty while swimming in the Touw River lagoon at Wilderness on the Southern Cape coast on Sunday afternoon, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said. 

NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated at about 3.50pm following reports of a drowning in progress in the Touw River lagoon, NSRI Wilderness duty controller Mike Vonk said.

South African National Parks rangers, police, and Western Cape government health EMS were also activated, he said.

"Our NSRI rescue swimmers responded to the scene and on arrival it was confirmed that a local man, aged in his late 40s, at a picnic with friends, had entered the water to swim when he got into difficulty.

"A friend had entered the water to try to help him but also got into difficulties, and the friend was able to get out of the water unassisted and he was not injured, but the casualty had at that stage disappeared underwater."

Two NSRI rescue swimmers entered the water and immediately started free dive sweeping line search efforts. They were joined by a four more NSRI rescue swimmers and all six conducted a co-ordinated sweeping line search. During the search the man was located and recovered from the water.

NSRI medical crew initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts, but after all CPR efforts were exhausted the man was declared dead by EMS paramedics, Vonk said.

African News Agency/ANA