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Police warn public after drowning incidents reported at Eastern Cape beaches

Dec 28, 2017
Police warn public after drowning incidents reported at Eastern Cape beaches

While the Eastern Cape Province is in a festive mood and police are doing their utmost best to keep crime and criminals at bay, the SAPS has noted with great concern an increase of drowning incidents on some of the province's beaches. 

"The warm weather and the recent rains have made swimming one of the alternative ways of enjoying summer by swimming in dams, lakes, rivers and beaches throughout the province," explained police spokesperson, Capt Khaya Tonjeni.

"While swimming is enjoyable, caution should be exercise as it is dangerous and can often result in death if great care is not taken when enjoying a bath or swim in the beach.

"We are appealing to parents and adults to exercise more caution as police cannot afford one more death that could have been avoided. A stern warning is issued to those who continue to drink and swim to refrain from this abhorred conduct before it is too late."

This warning follows after several drowning incidents were recorded:-

It is alleged that five people went to the beach at Kariega Mouth, Kenton on Sea on 24 December 2017.

"Two men were swimming at the beach at about 16:00 where it is alleged that when one of them emerged from the water, the second one was missing. The NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) and SAPS divers were called in and they managed to retrieve the body of the drowned man, who is estimated to be 26 years old from Port Elizabeth," said Capt Tonjeni. 

"It is alleged that the man was at Kenton on Sea as a contract worker but his names, surname, address and next of kin are still not yet known. An inquest docket was opened and is under investigation at Kenton on Sea."

He added that two women, aged between 20 -22 years old, also drowned on Tuesday while swimming at Qolora by Sea at Centane.

"Both women’s bodies were recovered and their next of kin were informed. Police have opened inquest dockets for both incidents."

Captain Tonjeni further said that a search party is out at Qolora by Sea after a 12-year-old boy went missing.

"The parents, friends, family and police K9 Unit are helping search out for the missing teen or body. The boy was last seen enjoying a good swim when a wave hit them. He was never seen again," he described.

He went on to say that police visibility has been heightened at East London, Port Alfred and Port St Johns beaches with members on horse patrolling sensitising community members to monitor their children while swimming and warning adults about the dangers of swimming under influence of liquor.

"The police are confident that if the public exercise the warning of looking after children well while swimming and avoiding swimming when drunk, a lot of drowning incidents will be avoided.

"Police are appealing to parents/guardians to always keep a wide eye open on their children swimming in pools or in the sea during this festive period. The festive season attracts thousands of holidaymakers to the coast and also the public pools," Capt Tonjeni said. 

"We urge parents to constantly talk to their children and make them aware of the possible dangers when in the water. Communication with your child is critical in the prevention of such incidents. Do not take matters for granted and do not make the common mistake in assuming that “it would not happen to my child”.    

"A child must never be left alone or with other children in a pool. There must always be adult supervision in the pool. Public pools are full with people having fun and not often notice is taken of a person in trouble in the water. The SAPS urges people who are unable to swim, not to be allowed in the water at all and also people who are intoxicated not to enter the water."

He added that beachgoers are also warned NOT to leave their vehicle keys and important personal items (cell phones, wallets etc) under towels or blankets while they are in the water. Unbeknown to the victim, opportunistic criminals are on the lurk.  Make sure that someone is watching your belongings while you swim. Victims only realise the loss of their belongings and break in to their vehicles when they are leaving to go home.

“Every life is important and we appeal to the members of the public to work with the police and do their part in exercising caution and restraint. Police have noted that two major causes of drowning is negligence from adults who allow young people to go to swimming unsupervised, while another reason is attributed to reckless behaviour of swimming under the influence of alcohol.

"Let us show the world that we are responsible people who listen when advised and work with the police, the life guards and local authorities to avoid such unfortunate calamities,” said Eastern Cape acting Provincial Commissioner, Maj Gen Andre Swart.