NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson estimates that there are 2000 fatal drownings each year in South Africa. Six hundred of these are children.
Many of these drownings are preventable, if only there had been proper prevention initiatives or the right equipment at hand.
On Friday 12 June 2020, South Africans were shocked at the news of two cousins, Loveness Malope, (15) and her 18 year old cousin (her parents have requested that she not be named), who died when they drowned trying to save each other in Mabulala Dam at Masoyi, Mpumalanga.
According to community members the dam is notorious for drowning as women go there to do washing and water is collected from the dam.
“When we read about two cousins drowning in the Mabulala dam, close to the Kruger National Park, we decided to see if we could make a difference to ensure such a tragedy does not occur again,” said the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Prevention Services Manager, Andrew Ingram.
“The story of how the two young women drowned is unfortunately a tragic recurrence in our country. What often happens is that one person tries to help someone who gets into difficulty in the water, but does not have any flotation device, or the swimming skills to do this, which results in both people drowning.”
According to media reports at the time it appears what happened is that one of the girls may have slipped into the water and her cousin jumped in to save her but sadly both drowned.
The NSRI contacted Enos Sibashe, Loveness’s father, in the wake of the incident and it was agreed that to prevent similar tragedies in the future the NSRI would provide two Pink Rescue Buoys at the dam that may be used as emergency flotation.
The Pink Rescue Buoys, kindly sponsored by The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), arrived at Masoyi on Tuesday, 21 July 2020 and Enos immediately put them up at the dam.
Enos Sibashe has volunteered to check on the Pink Rescue Buoys and the NSRI will target education outreach regarding the project to the local community.
“We hope that the buoys will remind people of the danger of water and that they will not be needed in a rescue,” said Ingram.
About the Pink Rescue Buoys:
The NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys are placed at selected inland dams, rovers and at beaches along the coastline, where there is a probable danger of people drowning or needing rescue.
The roll-out of the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys started in November 2017. This project is made possible by corporate and public donations and is part of an extensive National Drowning Prevention Campaign started by Sea Rescue during 2017. The deployment of the Pink Rescue buoys is done with the cooperation of City Councils, Municipalities and communities in a rapidly growing effort to make our waters safer and to prevent drowning incidents.
Part of the initiative follows the World Health Organisation’s principals of empowering community members with peer rescue and CPR skills. When we put Pink Rescue Buoys up in an area we target this education at the communities through traditional and social media channels.
The rescue buoys are bright pink so that they can be easily spotted on the water by responding rescuers. They are unique to NSRI so if you see a Pink Rescue Buoy it belongs to Sea Rescue and should be returned to its sign after use.
Over 650 Pink Rescue Buoys have been installed around South Africa and 57 lives saved since Nov 2017.
The cost of the Pink Rescue Buoy and the sign is R1500, and in this case FEM kindly sponsored the two Pink Rescue Buoys which were placed in response to the tragic drowning incidents at the Mabulala dam. FEM has kindly sponsored a total of 166 Pink Rescue Buoys in the last two years.
Duty Media Spokesperson: Jessica Shelver
NSRI Spokesperson: Craig Lambinon
NATIONAL SEA RESCUE INSTITUE
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is the charity organisation that saves lives on South African waters – both coastal and inland. Our goal is to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives.
Operating from base stations along the SA coastline, and on inland dams, our rescue volunteers are on call, at all hours, every day of the year. Our rescue crew receives no payment and neither do we charge the people we rescue.
We visit schools around the country, teaching children about water safety. Our drowning prevention measures include our online training academy, with free courses for crew and the public, emergency signage, Pink Rescue Buoys for emergency flotation, rescue swimmers, lifeguards, and active patrols during peak seasons.
Our organisation is totally reliant on donations and sponsorships. This enables us to do the work of saving lives, changing lives, and creating futures. You can do your bit to assist. Please visit nsri.org.za for more information.
SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY: 087 094 9774 or 112