At 15h00 on Saturday, 04th August, NSRI East London volunteer sea rescue crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at a beach at the Palm Springs holiday resort, East London.
We launched our sea rescue craft Spirit of Rotary II and an NSRI rescue vehicle, the SA Police Force, including a police dive unit and a police K-9 dog search and rescue unit, EC Government Health Emergency Medical Services (EMS), an EMS rescue helicopter, East London Fire and Rescue Services and an AV8 private helicopter carrying NSRI rescue swimmers responded.
On arrival a search commenced for three children, two males (aged 12), and a 13 year old female, who had reportedly been swept out to sea while swimming. They are allegedly part of a school tour group from Umtata.
During the search the EMS helicopter spotted the body of a male child in white water breaking swells but sight of the child was lost in the breaking surf and has not been seen again. During the ongoing search the body of the female was spotted in the wave line close to shore by the EMS helicopter and the NSRI rescue swimmer on the AV8 helicopter recovered the body of the 13 year old female.
The body of the female was confirmed by EMS paramedics to be dead on scene and has been handed into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
Despite an extensive search no sign of the two missing males has been found.
Sea swells are running between 1 to 2 meters.
A police team, including police divers and the K-9 dog search and rescue team, remain on-scene searching until last light and are due to continue with the search tomorrow.
Police have opened an inquest docket.
Teachers from an Umtata school that had brought children (learners) to the beach were at the beach when the incident happened. It is suspected that the children may have been caught in rip currents.