On Saturday 4th December at 14h02 the NSRI volunteers in Port Elizabeth were called to assist two children 3km upstream of the Swartkops River.
A seven year old boy was found on the bank of the river unconscious and suffering near drowning symptoms. It is unclear how the child got to shore. Metro EMS paramedics resuscitated the child while a search commenced for a second boy (approximately 11 years old) who had reportedly disappeared under the water while trying to rescue the 7 year old.
The 7 year old was transported to hospital by a Metro EMS ambulance in a stable but serious condition. After a search revealed no sign of the 11 year old, a Police Dive Unit commenced a scuba dive search and his body was located and recovered and handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
According to eye-witness reports a group of approximately 10 young children were swimming in the river when the incident occurred.
NSRI extends their sincere condolences to the family of the young boy.
In South Africa, children between the ages of 9 and 14 are those most likely to drown (Medical Research Council). WaterWise aims to teach children water safety, what to do in an emergency and how to do basic bystander CPR while they wait for the ambulance to arrive.