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At 14h00, Saturday, 21 August, NSRI Ballito and NSRI Durban duty crews were activated following a request for assistance from IPSS Medical Rescue on the scene at Zimbali, North Coast, reporting a 6 year old male child missing in the surf.

Mike Bishop, NSRI Ballito training coxswain, said:

It appears that a mother and a child were swept off their feet by a wave in shallow surf and swept out to sea by currents.

The mother was reportedly assisted to the shore but the child was missing in the surfline.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 6 was diverted from a training exercise to respond to the scene and an NSRI rescue vehicle with NSRI rescue swimmers responded to join IPSS Medical Rescue, Metro Police Search and Rescue, Police K9 Search and Rescue and SA Police Services on the scene.

On NSRI arriving on the scene we joined in a search operation and our sea rescue craft conducted sweeping line search operations between Tongaat River Mouth and the Zimbali Valley of the Pools.

Despite an extensive sea and shoreline search no sign of the child was found and on Sunday SA Police Services, Police Search and Rescue, Kwadakuza Municipal lifeguards, NSRI Ballito and IPSS Medical Rescue continued in an ongoing search operation and they were joined by a private aircraft, members of Salmon Bay Ski-Boat Club with 4 private vessels, and community members.

During the night NSRI coast watchers, local security members and Ballito and Zimbali community members conducted shoreline patrols.

The child remains missing and search efforts are continuing.

Thoughts are with the family of the missing child in this difficult time.

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