Port Elizabeth – At least four children drowned on Friday after they sought relief from the summer heat in local dams and water canals across the Eastern Cape.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Sibongile Soci, said in East London, members of East London Dive Point recovered the bodies of two boys aged nine and 13, in the Bridle Drift Dam near NU 2 Mdantsane.
Soci said it was believed that the nine-year-old boy had experienced difficulties while swimming with his friends and the 13-year-old had tried to assist him, but also drowned in the process.
In a separate incident, the body of a 14-year-old boy was recovered at Mthatha Dam by Mthatha K9 Rescue. The boy, from the Matyeba locality, who had been swimming in the dam at around lunchtime.
In Addo, police K9 Search and Rescue and police divers recovered the body of a seven-year-old girl who drowned in the water canal.
East London police dive coordinator, Captain Robin Steyn, advised people to be cautious while swimming and to ensure that there was adequate supervision.
“Parents, in particular, must be vigilant of their children and ensure they are supervised if they are swimming,” he said.
Steyn said children who could not swim were known to make use of makeshift floatation devices, such as empty 2l cooldrink bottles tied together. These devices could fail, such as the bound bottles spreading apart, resulting in the child landing in difficulties in deep water, which could result in drowning.
He also advised bathers swimming at beaches to be aware of tides and to make use of beaches where lifeguards were posted and designated safe swimming areas had been marked off.