Dorian Robertson, NSRI Richards Bay station commander, said; “At 12h43 on Sunday 25 December, NSRI Richards Bay volunteer sea rescue duty crew, on station at the time doing routine equipment checks, were activated following peoples screams from the nearby bay wall recreational area, inside the bay of the Richard’s Bay port, a mere 500 meters from our sea rescue base, indicating a drowning in progress.
“One of our NSRI rescue swimmers, Jaco van der Walt, ran to the scene while we activated our sea rescue vehicle while also activating Netcare 911 ambulance services, the SA Police Services and Umhlatuze Fire and Rescue Services.
“On arrival on-scene Jaco found bystanders helping two small children out of the water and a third child lying face down and still in the water. Jaco leapt into the water and rescued the small child and once ashore immediately commenced Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation efforts after he found the patient to be breathless and pulseless.
“On our arrival on-scene, a few minutes later, we confirmed that the child, a 5 year old male, had no pulse and no breathing, and CPR was continued by our NSRI medics for a good ten minutes before a pulse was restored and after paramedics arrived and took over with the resuscitation efforts eventually the patient began to also breath spontaneously but remained in a serious condition.
“The remaining two children, a 5 year old male and a 3 year old male, who had been rescued by bystanders, were showing signs and symptoms of near drowning and all 3 patients have been transported to hospital by ambulances, a male, 5 and a male, 3, in stable conditions and a male, 5, in a serious but stable condition.
“Police are attempting to track down the children’s parents who were reportedly at the same recreational area at the time of the incident but it appears that they may have borne no knowledge that their children were rescued and rushed to hospital as no one came forward to claim the children.
“It was not clear at the time if the children were related nor where they are from but it appears that they were together in a group when the incident happened.
“It is not clear what caused the children to get into difficulty (if they were swimming or if they had fallen off the wall into the Bay) but at the time the Spring low tide had turned and the Spring high tide was building up.
“Other emergency services that arrived on-scene to assist were the Umhlatuze Traffic Services, ICE Medical Rescue, Meditrax ambulance services and Casavac Medical Rescue
NSRI are urgently appealing to bathers and anglers to be extra cautious between now and the middle of this week because the new moon Spring tide has fallen directly in the path of the expected festive season influx of vacationers to the coast.