All quiet on the crowded beachfront — lifeguards busy with crowds, but no serious incidents

2013-12-27 00:00

AT SIX o’clock last night North Beach and South Beach in Durban were still “chock-a-block”, according to duty life-saver Mike Wood. “It’s solid up there.”

Wood had spent most of his day on Addington Beach. “It’s been extremely busy here, but not dreadfully busy.”

While there had been no serious incidents, Wood said beach users’ behaviour was “the normal story” with some people misbehaving. “You just have to deal with it.” He said that while some people “come up and chat and thank you for what you are doing”, there are others who get obstreperous, usually due to drinking alcohol.

Though it’s illegal to do so, people still bring alcohol on to the beach, often disguising it by using cold drink containers, which makes it difficult to police. “The main thing is to stop people under the influence going into the water.”

“I’ve just spoken to the eThekwini beach co-ordinator and he said there have been ‘no serious incidents’,” Wood said.

The brilliant beach weather also brought out “hordes” on to the beach at Amanzimtoti. “It was so packed, there was no room to move,” said Netcare spokesperson Chris Botha. “I’ve never battled like I did to get to the beach today — all the roads in Toti were gridlocked.”

Despite the crowds, up and down the coast, Botha said there had been no drownings, “we just had to deal with a man who dislocated his knee. I’m quite amazed there had not been more drama considering the number of people.”

Botha said the only death on the beach occurred on Christmas Day at Amanzimtoti when a woman from Gauteng had an asthma attack while in the water. She was brought on to the beach but attempts to resuscitate her failed. The woman has not been identified.

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