A 30-year-old man was sucked out of a tidal pool in Umdloti on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, but despite a massive attempt at rescuing and resuscitating him, he was declared dead.
Quentin Power, National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Ballito station commander, said that about 18:15 on Thursday, they received a call for assistance from eyewitnesses at Umdloti reporting a drowning in progress in the tidal pool.
An NSRI Ballito rescue swimmer and the Durban metro police search-and-rescue unit responded directly to the scene while the NSRI Ballito duty crew responded in a sea-rescue vehicle, towing a jet ski.
The eThekwini municipal lifeguards, who had gone off duty at 18:00 as scheduled, were also activated, as well as the police search-and-rescue unit and ambulance services.
The man had got into difficulty in the tidal pool and a member of the public at a restaurant across the road from the tidal pool went into the water with a bodyboard to help.
"...But the casualty had been sucked out of the tidal pool in outgoing currents and by surging waves and the man had disappeared beneath the waves forcing the good Samaritan to withdraw to the safety of the beach," said Power.
Due to large breaking waves against the rocks, Power and a Durban metro police search-and-rescue diver entered the water from the southern point, approximately 250m south of where the incident occurred.
They began a free dive search pattern in the water hampered by visibility of less than a metre under water.
The local community helped by spotting from the beach and waving directions from raised buildings.
The man was found lifeless and was taken to the beach where paramedics from Life Response 24/7 and Reaction Unit SA, the police's search-and-rescue officers and eThekwini lifeguards performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the man.
"After all attempts to resuscitate the man were exhausted sadly the man was declared deceased," said Power.
Power said police would investigate.
According to the Stats SA Mortality and Cause of death report, drownings made up 4.1% (1 411 cases) of deaths due to external causes of accidental injury in 2016.
Power commended everybody who helped so quickly to try to save the man.
- Compiled by Jenni Evans