Hot days mean more drownings

2009-11-14 00:00

A SPATE of drownings and near-drownings in Durban during the recent spell of hot weather has prompted the emergency services to urge people to swim only in pools and at beaches that are manned by lifeguards.

Scorching temperatures have sent scores of people running to beaches and pools to cool off. Six swimming accidents have been reported this week, with emergency services put on high alert for the weekend.

In the latest incident, on Thursday, a 14-year-old boy almost drowned in a Westville municipal pool.

A fun afternoon for a group of Westville teenagers turned to disaster when one of them was found floating unconscious in the pool.

It is believed that the 14-year-old boy and his friends, all pupils at Starwood College in Westville, had just completed an exam and decided to cool off at the local pool.

The boys were swimming when they noticed their friend floating face down in the pool.

They alerted the lifeguard who pulled the boy from the water and immediately administered CPR.

Starwood College principal, Mr Demirthas, said that the boy’s parents were notified and they rushed to the pool where paramedics were stabilising­ the boy.

Demirthas said that the boy is in a stable condition at Westville Hospital and that tests are being conducted to determine if he suffered an epileptic fit while swimming.

ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks said that people should avoid the risk of drowning by only swimming at beaches that have designated bathing areas and lifeguards.

“People who want to cool off during this hot weather should heed the lifeguard’s warning and only swim in areas where there are lifeguards on duty,” he said.

Earlier this week, 14-year-old Promise Majola drowned at Durban North College’s swimming pool.

Promise was found by her friends, who alerted a teacher.

It is believed that Promise had told friends that she was going for a swim.

When friends went to look for her they found her floating in the pool.

She was pulled from the bottom of the pool by a teacher who tried to resuscitate her.

Netcare911 paramedics arrived shortly afterwards and tried to revive the teenager.

Netcare spokesman Jeff Wicks said that paramedics tried for almost an hour to resuscitate Promise, but she was declared dead on arrival at Umhlanga Hospital.

In another incident, a young woman was pulled from the surf at Suncoast beach after she got into difficulty while swimming.

It is believed that the woman got caught in a strong rip current that pulled her out to sea.

Three more drownings took place last Sunday.

One of them involved a three-year-old child who drowned in a pool at the Umhlanga Sands Hotel.

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