School outing to Margate beach ends in tragedy

Life belt, rescue ring Picture Credit: Thinkstock
Life belt, rescue ring Picture Credit: Thinkstock

A school outing ended in tragedy on Saturday evening when two teenagers drowned after a group of pupils got into difficulty while swimming at Margate Beach on the Kwazulu-Natal south coast.

A third teenager is still reported missing‚ the National Sear Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

It said its Shelly Beach duty crew had been activated after reports from eye-witnesses of a “multiple drowning in progress” when between six and nine pupils from a Pietermaritzburg school were swept out to sea towards some rocks.

“NSRI Shelly Beach dispatched rescue swimmers to the scene and a Sea Rescue craft was launched from Shelly Beach. The SA Police Services including a Police Search and Rescue team‚ KZN Government Health EMS‚ Medivac ambulance services and the Hibiscus Coast Disaster Management responded.

“Lifeguards had completed their duty for the day and the beach was unmanned at the time of the incident‚” the NSRI said.

It said bystanders had spotted the youngsters in trouble and gone to their assistance. They were able to pull six children out of the water on to the rocks.

“Two men‚ who are believed to be off-duty Durban lifeguards‚ swam out to assist and they were able to pull two girls out of the water. Once on the beach CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts commenced. NSRI‚ Police and paramedics continued with CPR on the two girls‚ 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 male was witnessed floating face down in the water but despite best efforts‚ the teenager has not been found and he remains missing at sea and sadly he is presumed to have drowned‚” the NSRI said.

It added that the bodies of the two girls had been handed over to the Forensic Pathology Services and that a police search and rescue team would continue with the search for the missing male teenager.

“Lifeguards will assist Police Search and Rescue in the ongoing search on Sunday.

“Police Trauma Counsellors attended to the school group and Police will open an inquest docket‚” the NSRI said.


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