Coast KZN

02 Jan 2018

Seven-year-old boy critical after near drowning in Salmon Bay, Ballito

Allan Troskie (North Coast Courier) Picture: Swimmers have been repeatedly urged to swim at protected beaches and follow lifeguards'instructions.

Lifeguards plead for cooperation after child swept out to sea.

A young boy is fighting for his life at Stanger Hospital after being sucked out by a rip at Salmon Bay this afternoon.

KwaDukuza lifeguard supervisor Bongani Xulu told the Courier he received a call from a bystander at the beach notifying him of the drowning in progress shortly after 4pm.

“I immediately sent the jetski from Willard Bay and fortunately there was another lifeguard on patrol at the tidal pool at Clarke Bay.”

Xulu said when the lifeguards arrived the boy had already been dragged out to midbreak and his father and a nearby body-boarder were struggling frantically to rescue him

The jetski picked them up and returned them to shore where lifeguards started CPR. Emergency services were called and CPR efforts continued for more than 40 minutes before the boy’s pulse was restored.

According to Xulu, KDM’s emergency services came together in a united effort to save the young boy.

“This was a code red: KDM traffic police together with the Road Technology Institute provided an emergency escort along the N2 and through the toll gate as they rushed to get him to Stanger Hospital,” said Xulu.

The boy is in critical condition and it remains uncertain if he will pull through.

A clearly frustrated Xulu pleaded with beachgoers – locals in particular – to swim at protected beaches and obey the lifeguards.

“We say this over and over again and people refuse to listen. They tell us directly that they are locals and know these beaches – and the holidaymakers follow their example.

“Every year Salmon Bay claims a life. Every year. I am asking locals specifically to follow the rules and swim at protected beaches to prevent this loss of life.”

Xulu said it had been a relatively quiet festive period in terms of beach emergencies. There were several rescues at Willard Bay as swimmers got into trouble; a near-drowning at Salt Rock beach on New Year’s Day where two intoxicated people were washed out; and multiple rescues at Black Rock in Zinkwazi of more intoxicated beachgoers.

This post has been updated to reflect the boy’s correct age. Initial reports from KDM lifeguards indicated he was nine, the article has been updated to show that he is seven.