On Saturday January 29, the fatal drowning of a 10-year-old girl in Gordon’s Bay sent shockwaves through local communities.
The latest drowning of the little girl, follows shortly after the death of a man on Sunday January 23, after drowning at Strand beach. According to information from the NSRI, the man was recovered just before 3pm the afternoon, from the waters by local lifeguards, but showed no signs of life.He was sadly declared dead on the scene, after all resuscitating efforts and medical interventions failed.
According to Werner Vermaak, ER 24 spokesperson, the events leading up to the latest drowning is unknown. “Shortly after 11:00 am, paramedics from ER24 arrived on the scene where they found Gordon’s Bay Medical as well as lifeguards present.
“It is understood that the girl went into the ocean with two of her friends. The two friends apparently alerted bystanders that she did not came out of the water with them,” Mr Vermaak said.
He explained how after lifeguards searched for, and upon finding the little girl, discovered that she showed no signs of life. “Paramedics initiated CPR and rushed her to a nearby hospital. Sadly, she was declared dead shortly after arrival at hospital.”
In light of this incident and other recent increases in fatal drownings at local beaches in the Helderberg distribution area, Bolander requested beach safety tips from Simoné Bantam, a water safety instructor for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), from Paarl.
She has the following advice:
• Always swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty, and always swim between the lifeguards’ flags.
• Don’t drink alcohol before swimming.
• If possible, always swim with a friend, avoid ever swimming alone.
• Children must always be supervised by an attentive adult who is able to swim.
• Adults should never be distracted by their cellphones, while supervising children swimming.
• Swimmers should know how to spot and avoid a rip current.
• Never attempt to rescue someone in distress by yourself.
• Watch children who are using floatation devices carefully as the wind could sweep them out to sea.
• Learn how to do CPR in case of an emergency.
• Remember that drowning is silent. People who are drowning are usually not yelling for help or waving their hands around.
The NSRI on their website, (www.nsri.org.za) further offers advice for when caught up in rip-currents:
• Don’t panic and don’t fight the current
• Get out of the rip by swimming parallel to the shore
• Use the waves to help get you back to the beach
• Never swim into a rip to help somebody
• Rather throw them something that floats
• Use arm signals to show them to swim to the side
• Call for help
If you see anyone in danger at the beach contact the NSRI emergency numbers on 112 or 087 094 9774.