Two teens drown, another missing after school outing at Margate beach

2016-03-06 10:16


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Durban - Two teenagers have drowned, while a third is missing, after a group of pupils struggled in the surf at Margate Beach on Saturday evening.

The NSRI's Shelly Beach duty crew responded to eyewitness reports of a "multiple drowning in progress" at 18:20, spokesperson Craig Lambinon said.

Rescue swimmers and rescue craft were dispatched by the NSRI while a SAPS search and rescue team, KwaZulu-Natal emergency services, Medivac ambulance services and the Hibiscus Coast Disaster Management responded to the scene.

"Lifeguards had completed their duty stand-by for the day and the beach was unmanned by lifeguards at the time of the incident," Lambinon said.

"According to eyewitness reports, at least between six to nine school learners were seen to be in difficulty in the surf and bystanders had gone to their assistance."

He said it is believed that a group of pupils accompanied by teachers and their principal from a Pietermaritzburg school were at the beach on a school outing when a group of children appeared to get into difficulties in the surf while swimming.

Rescue effort

Two Witbank holidaymakers had been driving in the vicinity when they noticed a group of children in deep water being swept out to sea towards rocks.

They ran to assist and one of the visitors, with the help of other bystanders, was able to pull six children out of the water onto rocks.

It was not immediately clear if some of the children were part of those that got into difficulty or if some of the children had gone in to assist, he said.

"Two men who are believed to be off-duty Durban lifeguards swam out to assist and they were able to pull two females out of the water.

"Once on the beach, CPR efforts commenced and NSRI, police and paramedics continued with CPR on the two females, aged 15 and 16, but sadly after all efforts to resuscitate them were exhausted, they were both declared deceased on the scene."

A 17-year-old boy was seen floating face down in the water, but despite extensive search efforts, the teenager has not been found.

He remains missing at sea and is presumed to have drowned.

"The bodies of the two deceased [girls] were taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and a police search and rescue team will continue with an ongoing search operation for the missing [boy]. Lifeguards will assist police search and rescue in the ongoing search on Sunday," Lambinon said.

Police trauma counsellors attended to the school group and an inquest docket into the incident has been opened.

Read more on:    nsri  |  durban  |  drownings

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