“At 15h00 (Saturday, 13 August) our NSRI Hout Bay volunteer duty crew were activated following reports made to Hout Bay Police of an 11 year old male child missing after being swept away in the surf at Karbonkelberg, in the vicinity of Duiker Island, after being swept off a rock at the shores edge.
“According to reports a group of approximately 11 youths, locals from nearby Hout Bay Heights, had reportedly been on an outing picking periwinkles off rocks when two of the youths were swept off a rock by a wave at approximately 12h30. One of the youths managed to get safely back to shore but the missing 11 year old was swept away in the direction of Duiker Island before sight of him was lost. An adult male, known only to NSRI as a ‘James’, apparently tried to rescue the youth but was not able to.
“After trying to find their friend for some time part of the group then hiked back to Hout Bay where they raised the alarm with their families who called the rescue authorities.
“NSRI Hout Bay launched our sea rescue craft ALBIE MATTHEWS and our sea rescue 4×4 vehicle was dispatched. Hout Bay Volunteer EMS, Hout Bay Neighborhood Watch, CERT (Hout Bay Community Emergency Reaction Team), the SA Police Services, a Metro EMS rescue team, a Police Dive Unit and the Metro Red Cross AMS helicopter responded.
“On arrival on-scene an extensive sea, air and shore search commenced in extremely rough seas with a 6 meter breaking swell for the missing youth.
“No sign of the youth has been found and a Police Dive Unit, supported by NSRI Hout Bay sea rescue craft, will resume an ongoing search from day break on Sunday. NSRI Bakoven and NSRI Kommetjie, who are both conducting routine exercises on Sunday morning, have been tasked to join in the ongoing search at staggered times during Sunday morning. A specialized Police K-9 dog unit has been placed on alert to join in the search on Sunday if required.
“Police Counsellors are attending to the family of the missing youth and to the friends and families of the youngsters that were with him at the time of his disappearance.”
The NSRI are urging parents to ensure that children have responsible adult supervision when around inland and coastal waters (sea, rivers, dams, lakes, swimming pools and even puddles of water). Extremely rough sea conditions will prevail around the coast for months to come and caution should be exercised especially on harbor walls, at beaches and from rocks along the shore front.
“Todays incident occurred during the rising tide (low tide was at 09h10 and high tide at 15h21) this indicates that in all likelihood the children were collecting periwinkles from rocks along the shores edge from when the tide was relatively low and as the tide rose a wave most possibly caught the youths off guard who were then swept off the rocks by the wave! ……….(Please note that this is only an assumption based on reports and conditions at the time).
Police have opened an inquest docket.
An extensive ongoing search today (Sunday, 14 August, 2011) revealed no sign of the missing youth who is feared to have drowned in Hout Bay (see original media release below).
NSRI Hout Bay, NSRI Kommetjie, a Police Dive Unit, Hout Bay Police, a Metro EMS rescue team and WSAR (Wilderness Search and Rescue) conducted a surface sea and a dive search and shore patrols in the vicinity of yesterdays incident.
The Police Dive Unit and Hout Bay Police will continue with the ongoing search operation and NSRI Hout Bay volunteers will now remain on stand-by to assist in the ongoing search if required.
Police Counsellors are continuing to support family members and friends.