News, Accidents, Robberies & Incidents | Eastern Cape | Juan Pretorius | NSRI Port Alfred station commander
4 Jan 2018, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape: At 12h16, Thursday, 04th January, NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated following reports of a multiple drowning in progress near to Kiddies Beach in the Kowie River.
NSRI Port Alfred, Multi Security, the SA Police Services, Ndlambe Fire and Rescue Services, Ndlambe Environmental Control rangers, Holistic ambulance services, Gardmed ambulance services and EC Government Health EMS responded.
On arrival on the scene 6 children, believed to be aged between 7 and 14, and a 21 year old young women all from Bathurst and some believed to be related, were already out of the water and bystanders were providing medical assistance.
CPR efforts by NSRI and paramedics were conducted on the 21 year old woman but sadly after all efforts were exhausted she has been declared deceased.
3 children were transported to hospital by Holistic and by Gardmed ambulances in serious but stable conditions and 1 child was transported to hospital by ambulance in a critical condition and that child will be airlifted to a Port Elizabeth hospital from the Port Alfred hospital.
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The Forensic Pathology Services will take the deceased body into their care and an inquest docket will be opened by Police.
It appears that the group of children and the adult were swimming at a sand bank in the Kowie River, the sand bank, near to Kiddies Beach, is known for being able to stand waist deep in the middle of the river.
The effect of the Spring Tide (during full moon) appears to explain their wading on this sand bank to an area further along the sand bank and deeper than expected (because of the high Spring tide).
Suddenly all 7 persons were out of their depth and according to eye-witnesses the children, some who appeared unable to swim were grabbing onto the adult and in doing so they were forcing her head underwater and she disappeared under water.
Bystanders raised the alarm and leapt in to assist and were able to rescue the 6 children and then searched to find the young adult underwater and getting her to shore as well.
NSRI commend a Multi Security officer who had witnessed the incident and leapt into the water to rescue the casualties and to the 2 men from Royal Alfred Marina and staff at Outdoor Focus and the other unidentified bystanders who assisted. Your efforts contributed to saving the children’s lives.