Geoff McGregor, NSRI East London station commander, said:
At 20h15, Saturday, 12th May, NSRI East London duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Eastern Beach, East London.
NSRI rescue swimmers, the SA Police Services with a Police K-9 Search and Rescue Unit, a Police Dive Unit and EC Government Health EMS responded.
On arrival on the scene we found a large group of school learners, over 200 children and at least 19 teachers and carers from a Boys School and from a Girls School in the Eastern Cape on the scene.
2 teenagers from the group, a male and a female, had already been recovered from the water and CPR efforts were commenced by paramedics but sadly despite extensive CPR efforts performed by paramedics both were declared deceased.
A search continued in an effort to rule out any more learners missing in the water but it later appeared that all learners were accounted for.
The learners had reportedly arrived at the beach following a sports day of rugby, soccer and netball.
Teachers and carers had, according to eye-witness accounts, attempted to keep the learners from entering the water but some learners had gone into the surf before it is suspected that they were caught in rip currents.
Assisted by teachers, carers and other learners it appears that multiple children (teenagers) were rescued and assisted out of the surf but 2 teenage learners, the male and the female, sadly succumbed to fatal drowning after CPR efforts by paramedics were exhausted.
Police have opened an inquest docket and the bodies of the teenagers have been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.
Beaches in East London had been closed earlier in the day since approximately 11h00 by the Buffalo City Metropolitan Recreation authorities following a shark incident at Nahoon Beach during a junior surfing event where a male surfer had reportedly been transported to hospital by private transport after being bumped off a surf board in the surf and bitten by a shark, reportedly bitten on the side of his body but reportedly only sustaining minor injuries.