Mass rescue on packed beaches

2014-01-02 00:00

DURBAN’S beaches were packed yesterday and lifeguards dealt with a mass rescue of about 40 people.

The drama happened between Wedge and South beaches at about lunch hour yesterday.

Mike Raubenheimer, chairman of Lifesaving KZN said more than 100 people were rescued at various Durban beaches yesterday, and that the lifeguards did a sterling job on the mass rescue mission.

“They did very well in saving those 40 people. The only drownings I am aware of that happened yesterday are one at Amatikhulu beach in Richards Bay and another one near Isipingo. I’m not aware of any drownings on the Durban beaches.”

People could be seen “camping” on every street corner and every spot they could find and the beachfront was packed to capacity.

Back streets and alleys were a hive of activity as friends and relatives took turns to go to the water, leaving others to guard their “camps”.

Modiehi Mofokeng from Qwaqwa said she and her friends arrived in Durban before 4 am.

“Strangely when we got here the roads were closed and there was no space on the beachfront to camp, hence we decided to ‘occupy’ this corner next to the hospital. We have no regrets though because it’s all about having fun.”

eThekwini Municipality communications director Tozi Mthethwa said there were more visitors than were expected this festive season.

She said it was difficult to give figures without consulting with the departments and units involved in ensuring the smooth operations on the beaches. She said there were no violent incidents and that complaints were few.

“I can confirm 17 complaints by residents on New Year’s Eve.”

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