Drunks distract lifeguards

2015-12-23 12:25

Pool (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - Drunk and unruly patrons at a local swimming pool who distracted lifeguards almost led to a man drowning on Saturday afternoon.

A man swimming at the Alexandra pool who got into difficulty had to be revived by two members of the police search and rescue team.

The man nearly drowned because lifeguards were distracted while helping a desperate woman who was being “harassed” by drunk patrons.

Msunduzi Municipality acting spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said the lifeguards on duty had rushed to the assistance of a woman because a group of drunks were manhandling her.

“At the time when the lifeguards went to assist the woman, a man in the pool was struggling. I am not sure of the full details, but the lifeguards were alerted to the drowning man and managed to pull him out. The police search and rescue unit were called in and they resuscitated the man,” said Madonda.

She said the municipality urged people visiting the local swimming pools to “stop sneaking in alcohol”.

“It is a rule at all swimming pools that no alcohol is allowed on the premises. I don’t know how people are sneaking in alcohol, but they need to stop before someone is seriously injured or worse,” said Madonda.

She added that people at public swimming pools should respect other patrons, especially women and children.

“We cannot have drunk men around women and children at a public place like a swimming pool. People must be respectful,” she added.

The Alexandra pool was packed to capacity on Saturday due to the high temperatures and festive season, but was closed on Sunday.

Madonda said although the pool is operational, cleaning the pool after a very busy day took longer than expected.

“There is a problem with the cleaning pump at the Alexandra pool. It is taking longer to get the water clean again, and because of that delay we had to close the pool on Sunday,” she said.

Madonda added that the municipality was looking at fixing the pipes at the pool to ensure it is not closed after busy days.

Unwar Rawat of the Concerned Swimming Fraternity said the problems facing the local pools indicated that better management is needed.

“I had warned that if swimming pool issues are not addressed as soon as possible, these facilities would be more closed than opened. And truly, this is what we see today, that when these pools are really needed [during school holidays and in hot weather], the municipality fails to deliver,” he said.

Rawat added he was informed that the Woodlands and Buchanan Street pools were also closed during the December period.

Madonda confirmed there were problems with the filters at the Buchanan Street pool, but said the municipality anticipated that all would be in order by tomorrow.

“We have had people check the Buchanan Street pool and everything should be commissioned by tomorrow [today]. With regards to the Woodlands swimming pool, everything is fully operational at the moment and there have been no complaints on our side,” she said.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drowning

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