Two drownings along the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast in one week
Two men have drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming in the sea on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast in two separate incidents last week, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday, 18 January 2020. NSRI Ballito received a call for assistance about 18h15 on Thursday night, 16 January 2020, from eyewitnesses at Umdloti, north of Durban, reporting a drowning in progress in the Umdloti tidal pool, NSRI Ballito station commander Quentin Power said. An NSRI Ballito rescue swimmer and Durban Metro Police search and rescue responded directly to the scene while the NSRI Ballito duty crew responded in the sea rescue vehicle, towing their jetski wave runner 4, he said.
eThekwini municipal lifesaving lifeguards, who had gone off duty at 18h00 as scheduled, were also activated, as were the South African Police Service (SAPS) search and rescue unit and ambulance services. On arrival on the scene it was noted that a man, aged in his 30s, had got into difficulty in the tidal pool and a member of the public, who had been eating at a restaurant across the road from the tidal pool, had launched into the water with a body board to attempt to rescue the man.
However, the man had been "sucked out of the tidal pool in outgoing currents and by surging waves and the man had disappeared beneath the waves forcing the Good Samaritan to withdraw to the safety of the beach".
"Due to large breaking waves against the rocks, myself and a Durban Metro Police search and rescue diver entered the water from the southern point, approximately 250 metres south of where the incident occurred, and we began a free dive search pattern in the water, hampered by visibility of less than a metre under water," Power said.
With the assistance from the local community, providing extra eyes spotting and waving directions from the surrounding raised building’s and from the beach, the two rescuers were able to find the man "lifeless in the water", and he was brought to the beach where paramedics and others initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts.
After all attempts to resuscitate the man were exhausted, he was declared dead. Police had opened an inquest docket. Condolences were conveyed to the family and friends of the dead man. "The community members who assisted, the Good Samaritan who entered the water with a body board and the rapid response of all role players is commended," Power said.
In the second incident, at about 15h38 on Friday afternoon, 17 January 2020, at Tinley Manor, further north from Durban, NSRI Ballito received a call for assistance from Kwadakuza district municipality lifeguards responding to a drowning in progress at a beach not protected by lifeguards, he said. An NSRI Ballito rescue swimmer and two NSRI crew members responded directly to the scene while the NSRI Ballito duty crew responded in the NSRI rescue vehicle. On arrival at the scene, it was established four people had entered the water and subsequently got into difficulty. The Kwadukuza municipal lifeguards had successfully rescued three of the four people from the surf.
The fourth person, a 41-year-old man, appeared to be unconscious in the water when lifeguards reached him. They brought him to shore and initiated CPR efforts on the beach. Netcare 911 paramedics arrived and continued with CPR and IPSS paramedics also arrived on the scene and assisted. All efforts to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful and he was declared dead. Police had opened an inquest docket and condolences were conveyed to the family and friends of the dead man.
The Kwadakuza municipal lifeguards were commended for rescuing the other three people and for their efforts to try save the fourth man's life, Power said.
Source: National Sea Rescue Institute