Local NSRI tries desperately to save boy from drowning

A St Francis Bay sea rescue volunteer has become a local hero following his desperate attempts to save the life of an 11 year-old youngster who drowned at the Cove yesterday evening.

Phil Smith, son of Terry Smith, who has been with the NSRI St Francis Bay for a year, was only a few swim laps away from the child before the youngster suddenly disappeared below the surface of the water. Phil then voluntarily dived repeatedly under water, searching for the body continuously to no avail.

This is the second drowning at the Cove this year and there have been requests to have signage placed at the Cove warning of dangers for swimmers.

According to St Francis Bay station commander, Marc May, Phil was quite distraught that he was unable to save the child whose body was later found by police divers. The police scuba divers from PE had hastened to St Francis Bay to search for the body underwater. They found the child about 6 pm.

Police have not released the name of the boy, who is from Sea Vista, St Francis Bay, and the family of the missing child are undergoing trauma counselling. .  The boy had been swimming with other children in the canal at the time, but it is unknown what caused him to get into difficulties and a police inquest docket has been opened

Smith was off duty and near the children swimming in the canal at the time. He dived in the canal and swam rapidly towards the child, unfortunately arriving too late. He had earlier summoned the NSRI duty crew and they and the SAP hastened to the scene by road.   

This is the second drowning this year at the Cove, a popular water leisure and picnic spot on the canals at the confluence of the Kromme River. There have now been more calls for signage to be erected warning about the dangers of swimming at the Cove, especially as,  according  to May, there are strong currents there.

In February a brave father drowned at the Cove while trying to save his children caught in the incoming tide. The petrified children clung to a pole in the river until they were rescued by NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers. But the father ran into difficulties in the current while trying to save them and was swept away upstream before drowning.

Read the rest of the story at: https://stfrancischronicle.com/2012/02/19/brave-father-drowns-trying-to-save-his-kids/

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