Coast KZN

05 Dec 2017

Six dead in Zululand drowning tragedies

Orrin Singh (Zululand Observer) Picture: Four pairs of shoes, together with the boys' clothes lay on the bank of the Msweli Dam, while a member of Empangeni's K9 Search and Rescue Unit searches for the last remaining body LAST Monday afternoon

The recent spate of drownings in the region has once again, highlighted the importance of education relating to swimming and the dangers facing unsupervised children around water

Last week Sunday Thandokuhle Myeni (9) drowned during a family outing at Port Durnford after being swept out to sea in strong tides. His body is yet to be recovered.

On Sunday afternoon Empangeni K9 Police Search and Rescue responded to a call about a boy who had drowned at a dam in the Monzi area near Mtubatuba.

Thirteen-year-old Saeseko Mtshangase’s body was recovered soon after the arrival of the unit.

On Monday the bodies of four primary school children were recovered by Empangeni K9 Search and Rescue at the Msweli Dam, Mabhuyeni Reserve.

Twin brothers Ayabonga and Ayathaba Mthembu (10), and Qiniso Mchunu (5) and Asanda Dube (13) drowned.

A boy who had been with the four, raised the alarm after witnessing his friends getting into difficulties while swimming in the dam.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) at least 600 children die in South Africa every year owing to drowning.

Over and above this, 2 000 people drowned in 2016 alone, while 20 000 near-drownings were recorded.

The NSRI have issued the following essential tips regarding beach and swimming safety:


Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty

Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays.

Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting.

They are the experts on that beach. If lifeguards are not on duty, do not swim.


Swim between the lifeguard flags

Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards flags, the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem.

Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags. Just wave an arm if you need help.


Don’t drink and drown

Alcohol and swimming do not mix. Never drink alcohol and then go for a swim.