At 16h00, Sunday, 29th October, NSRI Melkbosstrand duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Melkbosstrand main beach.
NSRI Lifeguards, who were heading towards the beach for pre-season training at the time, responded. NSRI rescue swimmers and the sea rescue craft Discovery Rescue Runner launched.
The SA Police Services, Community Medics, WC Government Health EMS, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and a Fire Dive Unit, Law Enforcement and Melkbosstrand Neighbourhood Watch also responded.
On arrival on the scene a search commenced for a 14 year old boy who had disappeared in the surf after appearing to be caught in rip currents.
NSRI lifeguards deployed to search using Malibu rescue boards, our Discovery Rescue Runner conducted sea searches. Shore patrols were conducted and NSRI rescue swimmers, NSRI lifeguards and Fire rescue divers conducted free dive sweeping line searches.
Despite an extensive search sadly no sign of the boy has been found and a Police Dive Unit will continue with an ongoing search operation.
Family are being assisted by trauma counsellors.
It appears that the family, from Atlantis, had made use of a My Citi Bus free ride offer to come to the beach.
NSRI were not aware of a free ride service that had apparently been offered to the public. It had become increasingly noticeable, as the day progressed, that more people were arriving at the beach, particularly with Municipal Pools closed due to water restrictions, said Rhine Barnes, NSRI Melkbosstrand station commander. More NSRI crew were called to the NSRI station to physically be on alert after increasing numbers of bathers arrived at the beach.
NSRI Lifeguards, who start official duty the first weekend of November, were arranging a training exercise at the time and were able to be on the scene of this incident in a very short space of time.
Other sea rescue stations around the Cape Peninsula had also reported an unusual increase in number of people on beaches today. Being out of lifeguard season, NSRI crews were called in to man sea rescue stations and conduct patrols after the increase in number of bathers became apparent.
NSRI will approach the My Citi Bus authorities to request them to alert sea rescue and lifesaving when free services are being offered to the public in order to enable us to be prepared for an influx of bathers.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE