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On Tuesday, 27 December, a tragic incident at Wilderness claimed the life a 10 year old girl who suffered a fatal drowning and where her 2 siblings were rescued. Also, Police divers are continuing a search for a 14 year old Zimbabwean boy who went missing on Christmas day after being swept over the tidal pool at Gqeberha.

Investigations by Police indicate that it is likely that a 26 year old George man may be missing at Victoria Bay after failing to return from a swim. An extensive search by George Municipal lifeguards, NSRI Wilderness and George Fire and Rescue Services, on Tuesday 27 December, revealed no sign of the man who was suspected to have disappeared under water. NSRI Wilderness, George Municipal lifeguards and George Fire and Rescue Services continued in that search on Wednesday

In other incidents, at 15h08, Tuesday, 27 December, NSRI St Lucia responded to reports of a 55 year old unresponsive female at the Vidal Gate, St Lucia. On NSRI medics arrival on the scene it was found that she had suffered a medical emergency on a boat. Crew on the boat raced her to St Lucia when she collapsed unconscious and she was brought to shore at the Vidal Gate. Sadly she was declared deceased.

NSRI Witbank are assisting Police divers and Police k9 Search and Rescue in an ongoing search for a local man, believed to be aged 31, who went missing while fishing at the Kromdraai Plots on the Olifants River. NSRI Witbank responded at 18h15, Tuesday, 27 December, to join Police and emergency services on the scene following reports that he was missing in the river. An extensive search hampered by fast flowing waters where the dam sluice gates remain open has revealed no sign of the man and a search is continuing.

On Tuesday, 27 December, NSRI Simonstown and WC Government Health EMS were alerted to a drowning in progress at Boulders Beach. On investigation it was found that a female child had suffered non fatal drowning injuries and was in the care of Disaster Risk Management.

At St Francis Bay, on Tuesday, 27 December, at 12h09, NSRI St Francis Bay medics responded to The Cove at St Francis Bay canal where a female child had been rescued from the water by public members. Local residents had successfully applied bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation efforts and the child was transported to hospital by EMS ambulance where she is recovering.

On Monday, 26 December, at 16h03, NSRI Gordons Bay were alerted to a drowning in progress at Strand Beach. Lifeguards rescued a girl from the water who was attended to by paramedics.

A number of paddlers and boaters have been rescued and assisted by NSRI.

On Saturday, 24 December, at 09h03, NSRI Gordons Bay responded to a vessel taking on water at Steenbras Point. The vessel made it into Gordons Bay harbor where NSRI Gordons Bay assisted to pump water from the vessel until she could be recovered safely.

A RHIB (rigid hull inflatable boat) with 4 crew onboard suffered steering failure off-shore of Kogelbay. NSRI Gordons Bay assisted them to safety.

Off-shore of Gordons Bay on Monday, 26 December, at 06h09, eye-witnesses reported a paddler in distress caught in 30 knot off-shore winds. An NSRI Gordons rescue craft reached the man who’s Fluid paddle craft was sinking and he was holding onto the bow that was all that was protruding out of the water. The eye-witness was commended for contributing to the man’s life being saved.

On Tuesday, 27 December, NSRI Knysna were activated at 11h04 where a private boat assisted a paddler capsized in the Knysna Heads to safety. NSRI Knysna recovered the paddle craft.

On Saturday, 24 December, NSRI Durban assisted a vessel with steering failure 5 nautical miles off-shore of the Port of Durban. NSRI escorted the vessel, whose crew rigged emergency steering, into the Port of Durban.

NSRI lifeguards, contracted to supply lifeguarding services to the public on behalf of 6 Municipalities at 26 beaches around the coastline, have attended to over 3000 assisted interventions, over 50 first aid incidents on beaches and over 200 rescue operations (including bathers and paddlers) since the start of December resulting in no fatal drowning accidents.

NSRI are appealing to bathers around the coast to swim at beaches protected by lifeguards.
Anglers fishing along the shoreline should stay a safe distance from the shore.
Inland recreational water users should be cautious of rapidly flowing rivers and not try to cross rivers in flood and avoid crossing over low lying bridges submerged at flood affected rivers.
Be cautious on lakes and dams and your swimming pool at home should have a cloak of safety around it.
Parents are to ensure children have responsible adult supervision in and around water.
Boaters, paddlers and sailors, including stand-up paddle boarders and kite boarders, on coastal waters and on inland waters should download and use the NSRI RSA SafeTrx smart phone application. Have and know how to use safety equipment, a referee whistle around your neck, wear a life-jacket, have red distress flares and your phone fully charged and stored in a water tight sleeve.

Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO, said:

Condolences are conveyed to the families that have lost loved ones and thoughts are with those families whose loved ones remain missing.

We appeal to all South Africans and tourist visiting our country to adopt a safety conscious mind set in and around water.

We commend our NSRI volunteers and operations support teams, as well as public members, Police, Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue, lifeguards, private and Government ambulance services, Disaster Risk Management, Community support structures, Government and Provincial services and all volunteer emergency services for their ongoing support, assistance, vigilance and service during this busy festive season for their contribution promoting safety and security for everyone.

We wish everyone a safe New Year.

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