Search underway for child swept out to sea in Knysna

Two children have drowned and one is missing in two separate incidents along a small stretch of the Western Cape coastline.

A search is underway for a young boy who was swept out to sea at Noetzie Beach in Knysna yesterday.

It is believed that he was caught in a rip current.

According to National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon, the NSRI Knysna duty crew was activated at 13:46, following reports of a drowning in progress at Noetzie Beach.

NSRI rescue swimmers, the police services, and ER24 responded, while NSRI rescue craft JayTee IV and Katharine were launched.

“On arrival at the scene, a search commenced for a local male child, aged approximately eight.”

Lambinon says that according to information provided, the child was swimming with friends when an adult on the beach suggested they return to the beach.

“It is reported that at that stage, the child may have been caught in a rip current.”

An adult bystander had reportedly attempted to rescue the child, before he disappeared underwater, says Lambinon.

Knysna resident Duran de Villiers volunteered his private helicopter to assist in the search.

NSRI rescue swimmers also conducted free dive sweeping line search efforts in the surf.

Despite the extensive air, sea and shoreline operation, there were no signs of the child by the end of the day yesterday. Police and the police dive unit are continuing the search.

“Thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing child in this difficult time,” Lambinon says.

Two boys drown in Nature’s Valley

In a separate incident on Saturday, two youngsters, aged eight and 10, drowned at Grootrivier Lagoon in Nature’s Valley on Saturday, after a kayak with three children aboard capsized.

The third child reached the shore and raised the alarm, says Lambinon.

NSRI Plettenberg Bay and Nature’s Valley Coastwatchers were activated at about 14:44, after receiving the report of the drowning in progress.

NSRI rescue swimmers responded in the NSRI’s rescue vehicle, while NSRI rescue swimmers, near the scene, responded in their private vehicles.

Two NSRI rescue craft were launched.

Using the spring high tide, both rescue craft were able to navigate the lagoon mouth to enter Nature’s Valley Lagoon. An NSRI Plettenberg Bay all-terrain vehicle, stationed at Nature’s Valley, was also dispatched.

Also on the scene were police, the police dive unit, Western Cape’s Emergency Management Services, and Plettenberg Bay First Responders.

One of the children was located and recovered from the water but resuscitation efforts were sadly unsuccessful. During a search, the second child was located and recovered from the water, but was also declared deceased.

“A counsellor assisted the surviving child, who was taken into the care of his parents. The bodies of the two deceased children were taken into the care of WC Forensic Pathology Services,” says Lambinon.

“Condolences are conveyed to family and friends of the deceased children.”

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