Sat Oct 22 07:17:43 CAT 2016

Five more drownings mar New Year's Day

By unknown | Jan 03, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Five more drownings on Tuesday marred what would have otherwise been a relatively smooth New Year's Day on the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal.

Yesterday authorities said that the number of New Year's Day drownings had risen to six. Five of these happened on the province's north coast and a sixth on the south coast. A search for four of the bodies continued yesterday.

Lifesaving SA spokesman James Ross said a total of 19 people have now drowned in the province over the festive season.

"The cases are unfortunate and unnecessary. In most instances the victims did not swim in the designated areas and instead got into difficulty in the unprotected areas," said Ross.

Most swimming areas in the province are regularly patrolled and have volunteer lifeguards on duty during the day.

"In some instances people went swimming after sunset and got into trouble in the dark. When events take place at night, it is difficult for rescue authorities to get to the scene on time and delays can be costly," he said.

He urged beach-goers to stick to designated swimming areas.

The National Sea Rescue Institute also said it was concerned about the drownings.

A spokesman said that until the drownings late on Tuesday, the region had been confident of curtailing them.

"Revellers at most beaches were well-behaved and until the latest drownings, we were having a much better year," the spokesman added.

Meanwhile, security authorities in the province congratulated the hundreds of thousands of beach-goers who packed the region's beaches on Tuesday.

Durban city officials also applauded the behavior of the more than 100000 beach-goers.

But they criticised the bad behaviour of flat dwellers who discharged fireworks into the streets from high rise buildings during New Year's Eve celebrations.

Metro police and SAPS controlled the use of fireworks on the ground but CCTV camera footage confirmed the irresponsible behaviour by some flat residents.


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