Three people drown, many rescued on sweltering Cape Town weekend
City lauds lifeguard efforts as residents flock to beaches
Three people drowned in the sea on a sweltering day in Cape Town on Saturday — the busiest beach day in three years, the city said.
The drownings occurred at Clovelly, Monwabisi East and Strand in areas where no lifeguards were present. The city recorded a daytime maximum temperature of 33°C over the weekend.
Lifeguards saved numerous other lives, responding to more than 127 incidents on Saturday.
“I am proud of the huge effort put in by all our services over the weekend and I especially want to celebrate the commitment of our lifeguards,” said Patricia van der Ross, mayoral committee member for community services and health.
“Saturday was one of the busiest beach days in the past few years and our staff have certainly stepped up.
“We lost three lives to fatal drownings on Saturday, while 134 lives were saved because of their [lifeguards'] efforts. Their hard work and dedication serving the public under challenging circumstances should be commended,” said Van der Ross.
A city holiday child safety programme, Identikidz, had proved its worth, resulting in 155 children being reunited with their parents or caregivers after getting lost at beaches.
More than 21,507 children were tagged at selected beaches as part of the programme run by the department of social development and early childhood development. But six children — four at Camps Bay on January 8 and two at Muizenberg on January 9 — had to be handed to department officials as they could not be reunited with their parents or caregivers by nightfall. The six children were not tagged.
Van der Ross urged beach-going parents to use the Identikidz programme.
“There are still busy, hot days ahead and I want to encourage parents to ensure they have their children tagged at the participating beaches. It’s a simple, quick process and will save everyone from the worry and trauma.”