At 14h09 NSRI Hermanus volunteer sea rescue duty crew were activated following reports of 5 people being swept out to sea at Hwaston Beach.
Initially information was received that 1 person may be missing and that 2 people had made it out of the water but in light of the uncertain information a full sea rescue response was activated.
NSRI Hermanus volunteer sea rescue duty crew who had just launched the sea rescue craft SOUTH STAR on a routine exercise responded and the sea rescue craft LE JENMAR II was towed to the scene and launched while the SA Police Services, Law Enforcement, the Skymed rescue helicopter, WC Government Health EMS and an EMS rescue squad responded.
Lifeguards that had been monitoring a function at the Hawston swimming pool had also run over to the beach to assist.
On arrival on-scene it was determined that a 15 year old and 12 year old, brothers, from Pilippi, had managed to get out of the water safely after being caught in a rip current but a 19 year old, a 15 year old and a 12 year old, all males, all from Pilippi, were missing in the surf.
Despite an extensive sea, shore and air search no sign of the missing teenagers has been found.
A Police Dive Unit has been activated and with Law Enforcement and local police arrangements have been made for a continuing search operation for the 3 missing teenagers.
Police have opened an investigation into the incident.
It appears that all 5 persons involved in the incident, the 2 teens that got out of the water safely and the 3 missing teens, were there with family and friends in a group having come to Hawston by bus and by taxi from Philippi.
NSRI ARE URGING BATHERS TO EXERCISE CAUTION WHILE THE OCEAN IS STILL EXPERIENCING THE EFFECTS OF THE RECENT NEW MOON SPRING TIDE MEANING HIGHER THAN NORMAL HIGH TIDE AND LOWER THAN NORMAL LOW TIDE AND STRONGER THAN NORMAL RIP CURRENTS.