A fourteen year-old girl has fatally drowned in the surf off Jabula Beach near St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal.
The National Sea Rescue institute responded to a call of a drowning in progress at 11h45 on Saturday morning (20 April) but found the girl unconscious and unresponsive on the beach.
Despite being pulled from the surf by bystanders the girl could not be resuscitated and died on the beach.
NSRI St Lucia station commander Jan Hoffman said in a statement issued to the media: “At 11h45, Saturday, 20th April, NSRI St Lucia duty crew were activated following reports from Netcare 911 ambulance services who were responding to Jabula Beach, St Lucia, to a drowning in progress.
“Our NSRI duty crew responded and on arrival on the scene we found a 14 year old female had been removed from the surf reportedly by bystanders and was on the beach where our NSRI medics initiated CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts and were joined by Netcare 911 paramedics.
“Sadly, despite extensive CPR efforts, the teenager has been declared deceased and her body has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services.”
The South African Police Service have opened a death inquest docket to determine what exact circumstances led to the death of the child.
“Police have opened an inquest docket,” added Hoffman. “Condolences are conveyed to family. “
Jabula beach is a rural beach that is not staffed by life guards and is known for its strong rip currents and rough surf.
The beach is also known to be home to dangerous wildlife such as hippos and crocodiles.
The NSRI are urging the public to swim at beaches only where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim in the protected area marked by the lifeguards using their red and yellow flags.
The full moon Spring Tide – a higher than normal high tide and lower than normal low tide, remains in effect for the duration of this long weekend and into most of next week and public caution is advised