Six so far drowned in holidays

PARENTS have been warned not to leave their children unsupervised near rivers, the sea or the pool-side.

This after an eight-year-old child went missing and is suspected to have drowned in the Umgeni River near Pinetown yesterday.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said the child crossed the river at KwaDabeka with his uncle at about 8am.

"He apparently lost his footing and the strong current swept him away," he said.

ER24 and police search and rescue teams were called in to look for the boy.

"Unfortunately the search was called off at 11pm. We looked in all possible places where he might be," Banks said.

He said the boy was missing and suspected to have drowned.

Last week a four-year-old boy drowned at his home in Pinetown, while a six-year-old boy remains in a serious condition in hospital.

Banks urged parents and minders to ensure children's safety by making sure swimming pools are fenced or covered with nets.

"We ask parents and child-minders to please be aware of children at all times, especially around swimming pools. Please make sure your swimming pools are fenced and that the gates are locked," Banks said.

In a separate incident a 40-year-old man allegedly drowned at a municipal swimming pool in Pinetown.

Meanwhile, sea rescue personnel said drownings on beaches and in rivers in KwaZulu-Natal since the start of the December holiday now stood at six.

Yesterday the search continued for a 20-year-old holidaymaker who went missing in the Umfolozi area on Sunday. According to National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon, rescue teams from the NSRI, the Ezemvelo Wild Life and SAPS were involved in the search.

Lambinon said alcohol consumption was responsible for one drowning.