NSRI reports several New Year’s Day drownings and near drownings countrywide


DURBAN, January 2 – South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), police, lifeguards and paramedics were kept busy on New Year’s Day, with several near drowning and drowning incidents recorded countrywide, NSRI said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

In Kleinmond, in the Western Cape, an incident took place at Palmiet Beach following reports of a drowning in progress. Lifeguards and a member of the public rescued a 17-year-old male, from Caledon, who had been caught in rip currents. “The teenager was treated by paramedics for non-fatal drowning symptoms and transported to hospital in a serious but stable condition,” said Lambinon.

Just before 3pm at Table View, in the Western Cape, community medics were activated to reports of a drowning in progress at Table View Beach. NSRI, lifeguards, government emergency medical services and police responded. A 30-year-old man had been rescued from the water by a local bystander. CPR was administered by lifeguards and paramedics. Despite exhaustive efforts, the man was declared dead.

Also in the Western Cape, a drowning in progress was reported at Strand, just after 3pm, where a 15-year-old man was pulled from rip currents in the surfline by lifeguards. “Paramedics treated the teenager for non-fatal drowning symptoms and he was transported to hospital by GB Med Security ambulance in a serious but stable condition,” said Lambinon.

At 3.20pm, NSRI Richards Bay dispatched a sea rescue craft to the Bay Hall area following reports of a child that was missing in the water. Police search and rescue, lifeguards and uMhlathuze fire and rescue had also responded. “NSRI came across a drowning in progress and rescued an 8-year-old boy from the water. He was transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition,” said Lambinon.

“Then, at around 5.22pm, NSRI were notified that police search and rescue had recovered the body of the child who had gone missing in the water earlier,” said Lambinon.

Again at the Strand, at about 4pm, a drowning in progress was reported. All emergency teams in the area responded, including lifeguards, NSRI and private ambulance. “Members of the public had run to the municipal swimming pool to raise the alarm and to call the lifeguard on duty at the pool,” said Lambinon.

City of Cape Town pro lifesaving lifeguard Cameron Vannithing responded from the Strand municipal pool and rescued a 30-year-old male from rip currents in the surfline. CPR was administered by Vannithing and then by paramedics. The man was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

A second incident was reported at Table View just after 4pm where a man and woman had been swept to sea by rip currents. “It appears that a female got into difficulty in rip currents in the surf and a man went to assist but he got into difficulty. Another man went to assist and was able to reach the female and they got out of the water,” said Lambinon.

He said that German tourist Igor Obu had used an NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy (stationed at Table View Beach on the pole) to rescue a 34-year-old male from the water. It is believed that the 34-year-old was the man who had first tried to assist the woman.

At Small Bay, just before 5pm, lifeguards rescued a 35-year-old man from the surf. Despite extensive CPR, the man was declared dead by paramedics.

Just after 5pm at Buffels Bay, in the Western Cape, authorities were alerted to three women and one man being swept to sea by rip currents. All four were rescued by “four Good Samaritans”, said Lambinon, whose identities remain unknown and who left the beach shortly after the rescue.

In Westbrook, near Ballito, at about 5.20pm, a drowning in progress was reported. A 13-year-old girl was rescued from the water and was treated.

At about 7pm, another incident took place at Table View Beach, where a 23-year-old man was swept to sea by rip currents. Both of the man’s friends managed to get out of the surf. The man, from Duduza in Johannesburg, has not been found, and search operations would continue, said Lambinon. (ANA)